Is out of form Smith‘s friendship with Kirsten keeping him in ODI squad?

Cape Town: Former South African selector Mike Procter has claimed that batsman Graeme Smith’s friendship with coach Gary Kirsten may have helped him retain his berth in the squad.

“I think Graeme Smith is lucky to have kept his place in the one-day side, especially if you’re looking to the future. He’s slow between the wickets and he isn’t a good fielder," Proctor said.

"But I know Gary and Graeme are big buddies, and that was always going to be the problem when Gary was appointed - there wasn’t a big enough gap between him playing in the side and him becoming the coach," he added.

His statement came after Smith was dismissed for only two runs in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Bloemfontein.

Smith has scored only 116 runs at an average of 19.33 in the past six innings this season.

He is likely to retain his berth in the squad, with new ODI skipper AB de Villiers expressing confidence in him, Sport 24 reports.

"He currently doesn``t have a lot of confidence. But I believe Biff (Smith``s nickname) will hit back with a bang. He has enough experience and I expect him to find himself amongst the runs very soon,” De Villiers said

Bureau Report