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Smith, Boucher exempted from playing in domestic matches

cricket Updated: Jan 28, 2009 20:58 IST

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Injured star cricketers Graham Smith and Mark Boucher along with overworked fast bowlers were today exempted by Cricket South Africa from playing in domestic competitions in view of the upcoming series against Australia at home.

CSA Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola said the decision to release Smith, Boucher and other national contracted players was to give them a chance to recover for the forthcoming series against Australia in South Africa soon.

"Furthermore, scientific research has clearly demonstrated that pace bowlers are at increased risk of injury above a certain threshold of overs bowled," he said.

"In view of this, and considering the advice of the Cricket South Africa Medical Committee, CSA has taken the following decisions: Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher will not be able to play in the Standard Bank Pro20 because of their injuries; the bowlers who bore a large part of the burden in the Australian series will only be cleared to play should their franchise teams reach the finals," he said.

"The players affected are Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn; Jacque Kallis will also only be cleared to play should his franchise reach the final. AB de Villiers is cleared to play in both the semi-finals and final of the tournament," he added.

Majola allowed some others to play under medical observations.

"Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Neil McKenzie, Johan Botha, Herschelle Gibbs and Albie Morkel are free to play in the remainder of the tournament with close monitoring by our medical teams, as well as the franchise medical personnel," Majols said.

The CSA CEO said the Board wanted the player to be fit to meet the demands of forthcoming tour of Australia.

"Cricket South Africa acknowledges the great demands that the 2008/09 cricket season has placed on our national cricketers," Majola said today.

"The stresses and strains of international cricket have resulted in an increasing number of injuries to our players. This, in addition to the significant psychological and emotional strain of international competition and touring, risks affecting our future performances.

"The challenges also need to be viewed against the demands of the forthcoming return tour of Australia to South Africa in which the public will demand a performance equivalent to or better than our performance in Australia," he added.