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LONDON - South Africa's ODI cricket squad last week staged a unique warm-up session ahead of their games against England at The Oval and Lord's.

LONDON - South Africa's ODI cricket squad last week staged a unique warm-up session ahead of their games against England at The Oval and Lord's.

Hosted by the team's sponsors Standard Bank at the HAC cricket ground in the heart of the City of London, the Proteas welcomed 50 school children to take part in a series of cricket drills typical of a training session. These covered the key range of skills including batting, bowling, catching and fielding.

Graeme Smith, South Africa's, captain, said: "It is always a pleasure to pass on the cricket skills that I and the rest of the team have acquired throughout our careers to enthusiastic budding young cricketers.

"Today has also been the perfect warm-up to the two crucial London ODIs against a strong England team.

"Who knows, one of these young England players may come up against the Proteas in years to come."

Standard Bank is a longstanding sponsor of the South African ODI team.

Through the sponsorship, the bank has also made a significant investment in supporting cricket development at all levels of the game, from a national Under-13 cricket week for schools, to high performance and academy programmes in South Africa.

Cricket South Africa and the sponsor regularly host coaching clinics with the ODI team at venues around South Africa prior to international fixtures.

In the build-up to the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, for example, the ODI team hosted clinics for young cricketers on the beachfronts of Cape Town and Durban, as well as Alexandra township in Johannesburg.

But, with the company's growing international presence in developing markets, their support for cricket development is not limited to South Africa.

Their cricket sponsorship is an ideal platform to assist in the development of the game in other parts of the world.

"Although we primarily support Cricket South Africa at provincial, national and international levels, we'd also like to lend our support and assistance for the benefit of a wider cricket community at a grassroots level," said Clement Motale, the bank's director of group sponsorships. - Sowetan

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