ICL: Indian Cricket League

Smith ready for the heat of battle


smithGraeme Smith has predicted off-field verbals will be “flying each way” in the lead-up to the eagerly anticipated first Test between Australia and South Africa next week. As the sides prepare for the top-of-the-table battle there is huge expectation building for the various contests on both sides of the fence.

The South Africans arrived in Perth on Sunday to prepare for the three-game series and Smith said the Australians had started the barbs. “I think their coach has already done that,” Smith told AAP. “But at the end of the day I don’t think it’s really necessary.

“Things will pick up as the build-up goes towards the first Test. I’m sure there’ll be a few things flying each way. But I just think there’s a general really good respect for each other and the ability of both teams. Most of it is going to be played out in the middle and pretty tough.”

Shane Warne was an expert at stirring the opposition but this is the first series against Australia that Smith has not had to deal with the legspinner. Warne was particularly effective against South Africans and Smith said it would be “nice just to see him at a barbecue”.

“It’s hard to replace that sort of guy,” he said. “His ability to pick up wickets, his ability to change the game, and also to get into other people’s psyche. He was very good at that.”

One big advantage the South Africans have over Australia is their team is settled instead of going through a rebuilding phase. Smith’s side has eight wins in nine series and carries seasoned performers throughout the line-up. “I’m very comfortable with the team that I’ve got with me,” he said, “and the people around me and that makes a big difference.”

Despite the changes to Australia’s squad, Smith said they “are certainly not ready to be taken”. “In these conditions they are certainly going to be a huge challenge for any team,” he said. “If we can earn the victories and play our brand of cricket it would be wonderful to be the first [South African] team to win [a series in Australia].”

The tourists will have a one-day game against Western Australia on Thursday at the WACA before a two-day match from Friday. They will then have a three-day lead-up to Wednesday’s first Test.

Source:Cricket News

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