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We believe we can win: Smith
November 11, 2004 15:15 IST
South African captain Graeme Smith said that despite being written off as "no-hopers", his team is determined to come back as heroes by winning the two-Test cricket series in India beginning next week.
"We are going to India to win and we are determined to achieve just that," Smith said, after a five-day training camp at the High Performance Centre in Johannesburg ahead of the team's departure to the sub-continent.
Smith said he is confident of doing well because the spirits are high among the players.
"I know many people are writing us off as no-hopers, but I know that when I go onto the field I believe in every member of the team and I believe them because they made me believe," the 23-year-old Smith, South Africa's youngest captain, said.
He also rejected reports that South Africans would be happy to come away with a draw.
"I play cricket to win, whether it is at club level, provincial level or national level. We are going there to try to win, and we believe we can win," he added.
Smith said the team had talked about the 1952 tour to Australia, where the young team, led by Jack Cheetham, had been written off, but came back heroes after drawing the series against a strong Australian side.
"We see this as an opportunity to come back as heroes."
National coach Ray Jennings also said there is excitement in the team and total commitment from the players including former captain Shaun Pollock and all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
"We've done a lot of work on our fielding, and I think you will see something special. There is total commitment from all 14 members of the squad," Jennings said.
The coach said he had included Pollock and Kallis in his management team. Pollock will help in the bowling department, while Kallis will help the batsmen.
"These players have been very encouraging. They know the conditions in India and I am sure with their help we are going to make our mark," he said.
Kallis confirmed that he had regained his love for the game during the camp.
"Ray has introduced new thoughts and new energies. So I am having fun again, but don't expect me to jump around like Jonty Rhodes," he said.
Pollock, who was part of the Hansie Cronje led team which beat India 2-0 in 2000, is confident that the team had bowlers capable of taking 20 wickets in India.
"You have to do it differently in the sub-continent, and particularly in India. Sometimes it might not be pretty, but we believe we can do it," he said.
Both the captain and the coach rejected suggestions that the team would face a volley of questions on match-fixing.
"Most of the players weren't there, and it's unfair to ask them about it," Jennings said.
Smith said he didn't think the team has to be protected from such queries.
"We want to experience the toughest conditions. We want to experience everything India has to offer, and we are determined to deal with it."