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South Africa gears up for Bangladesh challenge

Agencies

Posted: Feb 21, 2008 at 1430 hrs IST
      

Dhaka, February 21: : South Africa will look to brush off an ugly selection controversy and continue their winning run as they go into the first cricket Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday.

A spat between coach Mickey Arthur and President of Cricket South Africa (CSA) Norman Arendse over selection policies marred the lead-up to the two-Test series which will be followed by three one-dayers.

Arthur was part of a selection panel that reportedly picked four black players for the Bangladesh tour, against CSA guidelines that sets a target of picking seven black players in a squad of 15.

Arendse wanted youngsters be given an opportunity against Bangladesh, while Arthur was after a full-strength squad which could adjust to sub-continental conditions ahead of the following tour of India.

The row was resolved after CSA issued a statement in which Arendse apologised to the chief executive Gerald Majola for the public spat.

However, the wrangling may have affected the players, most of whom appeared off-colour in a three-day warm-up game that ended a draw at Fatullah stadium on Thursday.

The South African seamers struggled to find their rhythm against a local Council XI which piled on 412-8 in reply to the visitors' first innings score of 397.

Captain Graeme Smith however sought to draw positives from his team's performance and said he hoped for a sporting wicket at Sher-e-Bngla Mirpur stadium, venue for the first Test.

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