'Proteas bowlers came short'

2008-09-03 14:42

Cape Town - Graeme Smith says his side's bowling capability has come up hopelessly short against England in the ODI series which ends in Cardiff on Wednesday.

The Proteas' skipper addressed the media shortly after his arrival in Cape Town on Wednesday morning when he was asked to explain his side's failures in the current five-match ODI series, which England are leading 4-0.

"We haven't bowled well. Some of our bowlers have a lot of growing up to do," said Smith, who has returned home ahead of the squad to undergo tests on his tennis elbow.

"We've missed someone like Shaun (Pollock) who can be solid upfront and later on at the death. We have the potential to became better but there is lots of work to do."

Smith said the Proteas' Test series win as well as the physical condition of some players also contributed to side's poor run in the ODIs.

"After the series win we lost of a lot of our sting," said Smith. "It was like a hot-air balloon that was popped. On a few occasions it was really a matter of getting bodies on to the field.

'Played non-stop'

"Very often there are only about two days between matches and we've lost that freshness.

"England's players did not play in the IPL (Indian Professional League) and that probably helped their cause because many of our players had played non-stop since the IPL."

A specialist will examine Smith's tennis elbow next week and then a decision will be taken about his rehabilitation process.

He said he first experienced pain in his elbow while playing in the IPL and since then it has been a struggle to play.

"I've been taking injections (to keep going)," said Smith. "I will go along with the advice of the medical staff and I won't start playing until I'm 100% again. We will have to make sure that all the muscles around the arm are okay.

"I won't be like Jacques (Kallis). He came back from injuries when he wasn't quite ready yet.

"I won't compromise my health or fitness." Proteas coach Mickey Arthur recently told the media that it may be necessary to start rebuilding the ODI squad.

'Retired'

"Mickey wasn't saying that some players are under pressure," Smith explained. "He was merely saying to players on the fringes that there are opportunities to crack a place in the team.

"Some players have retired while others have had injuries, or lost form. Right now the focus is to get the team up to the strength of the last two years and that will require us to work on structures around the team."

After Smith was sidelined by injury, Kallis was given the captaincy because of his experience.

"Jacques stepped in at a difficult time," said Smith. "It's (the captaincy) a pressure job. We didn't want to give the job to a younger guy.

"It's not a good thing that the ODI team does not have a vice-captain."

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