Biff: SA won't be in a spin
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Abu Dhabi - Proteas Test captain Graeme Smith has insisted that the Proteas' perceived vulnerability to spin-bowling has been exaggerated.
Smith is ready to take the field after a long break in the upcoming series against Pakistan starting in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Smith has been out of action since February this year, and has expressed his excitement and mental freshness ahead of the series.
Smith said the team has more clarity on what to expect from the conditions after having seen the wicket.
Past scores and results suggest it will be a good batting deck, but the players are geared up for Pakistan’s spin factor.
Although Smith earlier this week agreed that Pakistani off-spinner Saeed Ajmal will be a key player in the two-Test series, he felt South Africa had enough quality to counter Ajmal's threat.
“I think we’ve been given a bad rap about playing spin, I think we’ve done it very well over the last period of time,” Smith acknowledged. “Gary (Kirsten) said when he was coach of India that in all his experiences, we played spin in India the best. The last time we were on this tour we played Ajmal really well; he even ended up missing a few games throughout the tour. He is a key performer for Pakistan, and he is a world class performer at that, so there is a respect factor for what he can do.”
The squad wrapped up their final preparations at the Sheikh
Zayed Stadium on Sunday afternoon, and head into their first match of the
season with the assured confidence of having prepared as thoroughly as
“I think the work rate has been excellent,” Smith said of the team’s
“Every player looks focused and understands what needs to
be done in terms of their own preparation and is doing that. You see the
guys working on certain aspects of their game; what they want to
achieve from a conditioning point of view and what we will be facing.
That is the strength of the team, there is real maturity in our
preparation; the work is done and done professionally.”