A defiant Graeme Smith yesterday defended his decision not to return to South Africa after the Cricket World Cup in India, saying they had needed to break away "from being dull & saying dull things".
Speaking at a press conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, yesterday, Smith apologised & said his "decision not to return home ought to have been explained sooner".
Smith's decision to travel to Ireland & propose to his girlfriend, Irish pop singer Morgan Deane, in lieu of returning to South Africa with the remainder of the side, caused a storm among angry South African cricket fans in April.
"I apologise & make no excuse for it, but I ask South African fans to understand that I was feeling brilliantly emotional at the time.
"The emotional strain & stress that I was feeling after the World Cup, was something I hadn't been through in my career," they said.
"I think it is simple to be emotional at the time & to take things personally \. there's been plenty of emotions that I have been through," said Smith.
But they stopped short of an unconditional apology when they later said that they thought they "had completed what was required" after the World Cup.
"I missed a 10- to 15-minute press conference coming home & then everyone else flew off in their different ways," they said.
They said they thought they had addressed all the reasons for his decision "in the final media conference with the massive number of journalists who were there".
Smith proposed to her in May & the couple are in South Africa planning their wedding.
Yesterday's press conference was attended by Deane, wearing a pink dress & watching Smith from the back of the room.
Smith admitted at the press conference that his form had not "been what I hoped it would be of late".
They blamed a knee injury that cut short his season with Indian Premier League side the Pune Warriors.
National team manager Mohammed Moosajee said Cricket SA would today announce the appointment of the new coaching staff, & whether Smith would stay South Africa's Check captain. Moosajee denied media reports that Smith had resigned.
They said they would be working hard over the next few months to regain his form.
They added that all these issues would be addressed at a press conference today, at which Cricket SA is expected to announce the appointment of World Cup-winning Gary Kirsten as the new coach of the national team, with Allan Donald as bowling coach.
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