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Smith says Proteas will seek to dethrone world ODI champs India.

Cape Town, June 6 (ANI): South African Test cricket captain Graeme Smith has said that his team will seek to dethrone India as the number one team when the new season starts.

"Our biggest challenge now is to dethrone India as the number one team," said Smith.

The 30-year-old Capetonian said that his first goal would be to recover from the knee injury that limited his participation in the Indian Premier League.

"The injury is more serious than I initially thought, but fortunately there is still a lot of time to recover. I'm confident that I will start the new season without any niggles and will be able to make a big contribution to the Proteas' success."

Smith also apologised for not returning to South Africa following the Proteas' exit from the recent Cricket World Cup in India.

Smith, much to the anger of fans in South Africa, decided against returning home after the Proteas' quarter-final exit against New Zealand, and instead flew to Ireland to propose to his girlfriend, Morgan Deane.

Smith will marry Deane in August in Cape Town, before the Proteas take on Australia, starting in October.

"With the benefit of hindsight, my decision to not return home directly after the World Cup should have been explained sooner," Sport 24 quoted Smith, as saying in a prepared statement.

This was his first public appearance since the Proteas were skittled out of the World Cup by underdogs New Zealand who recorded a 49 run victory in the quarter-finals in Dhaka on March 25.

"I know that my extended absence from South Africa has been the subject of much comment. I apologise and make no excuses for it but I ask the South African fans to understand that I was feeling incredibly emotional at the time. What I did not take into account was the public's reaction to this decision," Smith said.

Smith returned to India after his sojourn in Ireland for the Indian Premier League but sustained a knee injury in the second match of the tournament and was unable to work through it.

Meanwhile, former Proteas' opener Gary Kirsten is likely to be named as the next Proteas coach following an Executive Council meeting of Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Jun 6, 2011
Words:392
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