Graeme Smith confident ahead of Pakistan series

2013-10-04 18:15

The Proteas won’t make the same mistake England made when they toured the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan as the top-ranked test team, SA captain Graeme Smith has said.

England lost the series 3-0 last year.

“England weren’t as mentally prepared as they should have been. The challenge for us is going to be able to get ourselves to test match readiness and to make sure that our basics are good,” Smith said.

“The reason we’ve travelled so well has been our ability to adapt and understand how to be successful in different conditions. It will be a bit of an unknown and we expect the wickets to turn a bit and we expect the worst but we will prepare accordingly.”

Proteas coach Russell Domingo alluded to the fact that since the Emirates are neutral hosts, no team has the clear advantage, especially when it comes to pitch preparation.

“I suppose playing in the Emirates is a bit of an away game for them considering the amount of influence they may have on the groundsmen. Until we get there, its going to be difficult to pre-empt what the conditions will be like,” Domingo said.

“We might rock up and there’s grass on the wicket because the groundsmen may feel that’s the most suitable thing. We’ve often been involved in series where we expected a certain type of wicket.”

The Proteas are a settled team and Domingo said he was not about to change it, with this being his first test series in charge. He hinted at the make-up of the team, saying that left-hander JP Duminy will slot back into the team with Robin Peterson to be retained as their first-choice test spinner ahead of Imran Tahir.

“JP is back and he bowled really well in the one day competition. Once a player is out injured, when he is fit again, he walks back into the team, which I think is fair. He brings a lot to the team as a middle order batter and as a spinner. I see him very much in the starting 11,” Domingo said.

“Imran has done really well for the Lions in the one day format and he’s a dangerous bowler but I still feel that Robin Peterson is the guy. He’s done really well for the test team over a period of time and he’s made some good contributions, and he’s the one whose firmly in possession.”

The Proteas have departed for their tour of the Emirates against Pakistan.

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