Smith confident despite lack of game time

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South Africa Test captain and opening batsman Graeme Smith feels confident ahead of the series against Pakistan in the UAE, despite very little game time in the past five months following ankle surgery.

South Africa Test captain and opening batsman Graeme Smith feels confident ahead of the series against Pakistan in the UAE, despite very little game time in the past five months following ankle surgery.

Smith only recently returned to the middle after a prolonged recovery, but didn't manage to spend a lot of time at the crease, falling early while batting for the Cobras at home, and then in the warm-up game in the UAE.

Smith made only two runs before being trapped LBW against Pakistan A, and was the only one of the top order to not get a good score in. He then didn't bat in the second innings, but that was due to giving the rest of the order a chance to bat.

But the skipper wasn't concerned about the situation, saying he had enough experience and training under his belt to come out against Pakistan and perform, and was looking forward to leading the side again.

Smith said with confidence: "I've been following the programmes in place to make sure I can get out on the field on Monday. That is the ultimate goal, to lead in a Test match.

"Not batting (in the second innings) was just a management process. I've had major surgery five months ago so it's about following protocols and listening to the medical team.

"I would have liked more time out there. But it's not the first time it has happened to me and it won't be the last. That's cricket. You take the good with the bad."

Smith had a similar experience ahead of the Tests against England last year, when his ankle kept him out of the build-up but he managed to score a century in his 100th match. he felt he was mentally able to click into gear quickly.

He said: "Last year, I didn't spend a huge amount of time in the middle before the series but I felt good about my game. You don't get it perfect like that all the time but the motivation is there."

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