Cramp issue has run its course - Colly

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Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith receives attention during his brave innings of 141 at Centurion, where South Africa fell short by 22 runs

Paul Collingwood is not expecting any hard feelings between England and South Africa to fester when they resume their international battle at the Wanderers tomorrow.

Graeme Smith and Andrew Strauss, who does not play Twenty20 internationals so is not involved in Johannesburg, had a well-documented confrontation when the two sides last met during the ICC Champions Trophy in September.

The South Africa captain, suffering from cramp, was denied a runner by opposite number Strauss in the 50-over game at Centurion, and as the two countries prepare for the first of two Twenty20 matches, the incident has again been mentioned.

Asked if he expected a backlash from the Proteas players over the issue, England Twenty20 skipper Collingwood said: “No, not at all, to be honest.

“I think what you’re going to have over the next three months in South Africa are two teams that are desperate to win.

“You’re going to see some very good, hard-fought cricket but I don’t think there’s going to be any extra needle because of what’s gone on before.

“I think both captains are very sensible in terms of how they lead out in the field and we just want to get on with the game of cricket out in the middle.

“There has obviously been some ICC say on the matter and the understanding is that the decision that was made on that day by the umpires regarding cramp was the right one. So all the players are happy with that.”

England have been boosted ahead of the game, with Graham Onions, James Anderson and Graeme Swann, who had slight niggles, all declared fit to play.

It means only Stuart Broad misses out as he continues his recovery from a jarred right shoulder sustained against the Diamond Eagles last Friday.

Kevin Pietersen, who joined the squad this week after being sidelined for three months by an Achilles problem, will be available for the one-day series that begins next week.

James Anderson & Graham Onions

England's attack is boosted by the return of James Anderson and Graham Onions, who missed the Twenty20 practice game

Strauss’ absence could be seen as a blow for the tourists, especially in the light of his current form, which has seen him hit 72 and 117 not out in two warm-up games.

But Collingwood believes Strauss' decision to no longer play Twenty20 cricket should be respected.

He continued: “He’s made the decision a while back. He’s always said that he doesn’t enjoy Twenty20 cricket, probably because of the fact that he’s never done that well in Twenty20 cricket.

“But his game is developing all the time. He was always good at Test cricket and has developed into a world-class one-day cricketer.

“I’m sure he’ll be able to make the next step but, at the moment, we have two important games coming up Friday and Sunday. He’s obviously not available for that and that’s the decision he has made.”

While Pietersen will not be available again until England’s warm-up game against South Africa A at Potchefstroom next Tuesday, his arrival this week has given the team a boost.

Collingwood added: “When KP comes back in the side, what he brings is a world-class player, it’s as simple as that.

“He’s going to be available from the Potchefstroom game and we’re all looking forward to him coming back into that starting line-up because we all know what he can do with the bat.

“He’s a great character to have in the dressing room and that can only be a real positive for us because we’ve missed him over the past few months.

“You always miss a guy who can play the shots that he can play and we look forward to him coming back in.”

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