Smith plots success after surgery

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Captain Graeme Smith is "extremely nervous" ahead of South Africa's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this month.

Captain Graeme Smith is "extremely nervous" ahead of South Africa's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates this month.

Smith, who has not played first-class cricket since May, recently underwent ankle surgery – and has been named in the 15-man touring party for fixtures in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

"I feel like I am going on my first tour but obviously with a lot more experience. Having not played for a period of time, I need to maximise the preparation available for me before the first Test," said Smith.

"I've upped my cricket skills in the last two weeks or so and it will be about getting mentally ready. There's a standard we want to maintain. A lot of our standard comes from within."

The Proteas are determined to negate the problems endured by England, against the same opposition in the same region early last year, when spinners Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal led Pakistan to a resounding three-nil series triumph.

"Maybe England weren't as mentally prepared as they could have been. One of the reasons we've traveled so well is because we are able to adapt but this time there is probably a little more of the unknown," he added.

"We're looking forward to playing Test cricket again. I can feel the excitement in the team and when I walk around from the fans. People want more Test cricket."

The first Test will get underway at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on 14 October. The Dubai International Cricket Stadium will host the second and final fixture.

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