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Cricket | SA Team

I'm on target for Pakistan - Smith



Following surgery to his left ankle in May, Proteas test captain Graeme Smith is optimistic he will be ready for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, starting on October 14.

“I had a stress fracture that had two pins put in. It's an ongoing process, you have some good weeks and then you have others that are a little bit sore,” Smith in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“You just have to keep your head down and work towards recovery.”

The Proteas take on Pakistan in a two-test series, before five One Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals.

Smith has been in rehabilitation and felt confident after the next few weeks in the gym, he would be fit enough to compete against Pakistan.

“I feel I'm still on target to be ready for October," he said.

“After this week, I have three weeks of really hard graft ahead of me. I just have to see where I am in two weeks time and, hopefully, be ready for the tour.

"The aim is to try and get more functional. You can't just walk into an international, and I need to keep working on that.”

While his ankle had steadily improved, Smith hoped there were not any more surprises down the road.

“You need a little bit of luck also – to make sure everything goes according to plan.

“I need to get home and work with the physio and start batting. The next three weeks is a lot more cricket-specific stuff and trying to get back the skills that I will need for October.”

The Proteas last played a test series in February, in South Africa, where they whitewashed Pakistan 3-0. Playing away from home, after such a long break, would pose a difficult challenge for the team.

“The Abu Dhabi leg is going to be a tough one. The test team hasn't played in six months and our build-up isn't that long," Smith said.

"To get over there and adapt to the conditions we're going to face, and be competitive, is going to be a tough ask.”

A lot of the team's preparations would focus on their mental approach, he said.

On the low, slow pitches the spinners would play a key role.

“I expect the wickets there to spin a fair amount.

“Guys like [Saeed] Ajmal could be a factor. We need to train effectively, so when we get to the test matches we can be confident in what we need to do.”

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