The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Smith vows to bring back the spark

Johannesburg: New South African captain Graeme Smith has pledged to put passion and fire back into the national team after their dismal World Cup failure.

“I have to get everyone in the team working in one direction,” said the 22-year-old who became the youngest captain in his country’s history when he replaced Shaun Pollock.

Pollock was sacked after the Proteas failed to get beyond the World Cup first round.

“Maybe we need a bit of discipline in our cricket and maybe we need a bit of fun. But I am determined to bring back the passion and spark,” Smith said.

Pollock was slammed for his tactics and alleged indecisiveness despite helping South Africa clinch the Test world championship during his tenure.

“One of my hardest jobs will be to get the guys to step up a gear. As captain I have to have the ability to tap into any player,” Smith added. “With Jacques Kallis you have to make him bowl at 140kph because you know he can if he wants to.”

Smith’s first assignment as captain will be the three-nation Sharjah Cup from April 1-10 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, provided South Africa make the trip in the wake of war in Iraq.

South Africa are also scheduled to play a tri-series in Bangladesh from April 13, which features India, before two Test matches against the hosts. Smith’s men will also tour England later in the summer.

South Africa’s performance in the World Cup was disappointing as they lost to West Indies and New Zealand. In their must-win last match against Sri Lanka, it started raining with the home team in a position to fight.

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