Proteas ready mentally - Smith

2011-11-08 22:31

Cape Town - A new chapter in the epic war novel featuring South Africa and Australia will be scripted, starting in the Tests at Newlands on Wednesday.

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The Proteas have had mixed fortunes against Australia in recent years. They tasted success during the historic series victory in Australia in 2008/2009 but they have not been able to achieve that feat at home.

“I think there is a fresh determination in the squad,” said Proteas captain, Graeme Smith.  “I think that the key factors we can take out of that series win in 2008/2009 are that mentally we know we can beat Australia in Test cricket, and we know how to beat them.

“I think that is in itself confidence that I think a lot of players in this team at the moment have, and we know that if we can get ourselves to the levels we can perform really well.” 

One of the enthralling features of the rivalry has been the intense on-field battles between individual players. It was prevalent during the Daryll Cullinan and Shane Warne era and more recently one that has lit up the battlefield has been the sometimes brutal affair between Smith and Mitchell Johnson.

“Myself and Mitch (Johnson) had some good battles, he’s a world class bowler,” said Smith. “He seems to really thrive in these conditions. I think he gets a certain new dimension to his bowling with the new ball here, he gets a little more shape than normal than he’s had over the last period of time, so that is a whole new aspect to facing him in South Africa.”

“I’ve also had my opportunities where I have got the better of him, I’ll need to find a away to hit the ball back at him to get fully back at him but that’s the nature of the game and the nature of opening the batting, you take your blows then you move on. Come tomorrow both of us will be fronting up again and that is exciting about sport.”

Smith will lead South Africa for a record 83rd time, and he has the opportunity of enforcing a first series victory over Australia at home since 1970. It is only a two-match series and without the ideal first-class preparation, the Proteas know that they have to be quick out of the starting blocks.

“It’s a little disappointing it is only a two Test match series, obviously we would have loved to take on Australia in a longer series but I think the first Test becomes crucial and, starting well in that  first Test,” said Smith.

“For us to have the opportunity to play against Australia at home and to beat them is an opportunity we are really up for.

“We are excited about it and I think we have covered as much of our bases as we can. I know tonight guys will go to bed believing they are ready and believing that we can come out and match up in the next five days.”


  • Jack - 2011-11-08 22:46

    Smith thinks too much. Quoted as saying that 4 times. Not very convincing. If he scores more than 10 runs in both innings I will apologise for my sceptism re his abilities to perform.

      steve.dupreez - 2011-11-09 07:01

      I am not the biggest sportfan but I am sure I read somewhere that Biff resigned as captain? Oh well, may be his new love will give him better ball control :)

      roboman1 - 2011-11-09 08:12

      Apologise already, Smith is going to make more runs than that

      Jono - 2011-11-09 08:56

      Smith will never be dropped doesn’t matter how bad of a slump he is in. Maybe dropping him down in the order to get his form back is not such a bad idea! Or even better, pay him according to the amount of runs he scores! they get over paid to play...

      Grant - 2011-11-09 09:54

      @ Jono: Who would you prefer to pocket the huge revenue that cricket generates? If the players don't get it, the administrators will. Are you maybe a Majola fan?

      roboman1 - 2011-11-09 11:47

      Smith averages 50.3 in his last 12 tests, how many people average that in test cricket people. I know he is a wanker as a person, but lets not ignore the fact that he is a great batsman. Name me any player you want in his place from SA and we check out the facts and stats

  • dave.cohen2 - 2011-11-09 05:46

    These days Smith's talking supersedes his ability as a cricketer. Not that he talks much sense either. Anybody could have been primed to say what he says, anyway but nobody could actually bat as badly as he does!

  • Piet - 2011-11-09 06:17

    Mentally disturb maybe?????

      Grant - 2011-11-09 10:00

      Spot on. You are. But thats luckily the first step in the healing process. Good luck!!

  • Hannetjie - 2011-11-09 06:58

    All the best for the Proteas for the 2 tests - holding thumbs you can beat the Aussies and make us proud Protea supporters!!!!!

      Phil - 2011-11-09 10:22

      Are you only proud when they win Hannetjie? Some supporter you are.

  • Leon - 2011-11-09 07:17

    Graeme , you must not think there is determination , you must experience it and show it to the Aussies.

  • Riaan - 2011-11-09 07:44

    Biff, ready metally ... to be committed, not to bat!

  • Caleb - 2011-11-09 08:15

    can't wait! Excited for the tests! Time to take it to them boys :)...Proteas forever!

  • Andre - 2011-11-09 08:29

    Smith is useless and cannot face the fire. After the WC he stayed behind in India then Awoled to Ireland or somewhere and did not face the media or the CSA board.

      Clive - 2011-11-09 10:04

      @Andre. Biff cannot take all the blame for that fiasco. the selectors picked the wrong team! No middle order to stabilize when things went wrong. yes, Biff is in a slump, but his stats will prove that he is a fine cricketer. (Not a good captain though imho)

  • John - 2011-11-09 08:46

    Biff needs to take it slow to start. Johnson knows he has a tendency to chase the ball wide going away from him. All he needs is 100 to get back and it does not matter how long it takes.

  • Grant - 2011-11-09 09:32

    Looking at our possible 11 I can find no weakness. Our batters are world class, all of them. Our bowlers have pace, swing, bounce, and Tahir with his variations! And we have a keeper that takes whatever comes his way. We should be able to thump these aussies. As for Smith, well, an average of 53 in eleven tests in 2010 is world class. Eighth on the list of run scorers for the year, and as opener only behind Sehwag and Cooke. Add to that his ability at first slip and you realize that he deserves his place in the side. If you don't agree, your reasons are personal and not based on a proven track record. Go Proteas!!!

      roboman1 - 2011-11-09 11:48

      well said Grant, at least one person here knows something about the game

  • Ryan - 2011-11-09 13:50

    boring... better things to focus on in the world than this nonsense.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-09 14:48

      and who forced you to come and read this? and then they also forced you to comment? Well really, thank them, we would have struggled without your valuable, intelligent and thought provoking comment Ryan......NOT!

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