Cape Town - Graeme Smith picked up a bat on Wednesday for the first time since breaking the middle finger of his right hand as he started his preparation for the ICC World Twenty20 which is followed by the Proteas’ tour of the West Indies that features matches in all three formats of the game.
With the nets at Sahara Park Newlands out of action for their out-of-season programme the Proteas captain had to venture indoors to hold a 30-minute session with national bowling coach Vincent Barnes.
Ironically, one of Barnes’ early throwdowns struck Smith on the finger but no damage was done.
“I was very happy with the way it went,” commented Smith. “We used hard balls throughout and I didn’t feel any kind of discomfort.
“My enforced absence from the game has certainly refreshed my enthusiasm for the game and I realized how much I have missed it.”
Smith said that he was not planning to have any extra protection on his batting gloves or take any other measures.
“Both the broken finger injuries I suffered this year in India were the result of fielding, not batting. They were pretty freakish and the important thing is that my medical advisers are happy with my condition.”
Looking ahead to the World Twenty20 Smith said the situation was very similar to last year’s tournament in England when the players went straight from the Indian Premier League into the tournament.
“We won’t have time for a warm-up camp this time as any players involved in the IPL semifinal will have to fly direct from India to the West Indies. But this may be no bad thing. “You can get over prepared and the guys will have to think on their feet.”
Smith said that it was disappointing that the two spinners, Roelof van der Merwe and Johan Botha, had had very little game time in the IPL. “There is no doubt about their ability but they were always going to struggle to get game time with Roelof being captained by Anil Kumble and Johan by Shane Warne. They are obviously going to be the first-choice spinners for their franchises.”