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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report

South Africa play down players' drinking

N.Ananthanarayanan | April 17, 2007 11:27 IST

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South Africa's team management have attempted to play down a controversy over a number of their players staying out drinking late on Saturday night after a World Cup defeat against New Zealand.

South African team manager Goolam Rajah brushed aside the issue, suggesting no player faced any disciplinary action over the incident which happened in Grenada after the five-wicket defeat left the team concerned for their semi-final berth.

"A few guys had a few drinks after the match," Rajah told Reuters on Monday. "It is not an issue at all. It is closed."

South Africa face England in Barbados in a round-robin Super Eights match on Tuesday which both teams need to win to claim the last semi-final berth.

Skipper Graeme Smith dismissed the issue, telling a news conference on the match eve that some players were "blowing off some steam".


Smith said no player flouted rules which clamped down on late drinking 48 hours before a match.

"Two days before the game they really calm down," he joked.

South African media quoted a cricket fan as telling a radio station that the players were seen "intoxicated'.

Smith said such issues crop up when the team loses.

"There were probably a few guys who had a few drinks, but I don't know what highly intoxicated is.

"I think probably we have been the quietest team in this World Cup, probably because of where we've been based."

South Africa played their group matches in St Kitts and then have been based in Guyana and Grenada before arriving in Barbados.

"Really to attack our guys for having one night of relaxation is not something I'm going to...," he said. "It is a long tournament and there is a lot of pressure on.

"The guys will be well prepared by tomorrow. If there had been issues, the guys had crossed the lines, they would be dealt with," he said.

England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff was stripped of his vice-captaincy and fined with other team members after a late-night drinking session earlier in the event.

The seven-week tournament ends with the final in Barbados on April 28.

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