| Graeme Smith |
Calcutta: Graeme Smith had his first nets on Monday since his injury during the Test series against Pakistan. The South Africa captain was satisfied with his fitness ahead of the first Test against India, starting at SuperSport Park, on Thursday.
I was very pleased with the way it went, Smith said in a CSA media release. I am following the same processes I have always followed when coming back from an injury. I will step up my batting schedule over the next two days.
Smith batted mainly against the spinners but will have a full session against the quicks at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.
Smith is recovering from a fractured ring finger on his left hand.
South Africa have released three players from the 15-member Test squad. They will return to their franchises for the latest round of SuperSport Series matches, starting on Thursday. The players are Johan Botha and Wayne Parnell of the Chevrolet Warriors and JP Duminy of the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras.
The decision means Ryan McLaren and Lonwabo Tsotsobe are the candidates for the third seamers slot, while Paul Harris, should South Africa opt for a spinner, is a certainty in the playing XI. Duminys exclusion ensures Ashwell Prince will keep the No.6 slot. India will look to become the only visiting side, apart from England, to win a Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
During their 2001 tour, the visitors were scheduled to play a Test there, but the tie was deemed unofficial after a ball tampering row in the previous Test at St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth.
Indias fortunes in this series will depend a lot on how the six surviving members from the 2001 series — Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan — perform.
Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher are the only two South Africans who had figured in that match in 2001.
With 11 victories as against three draws and one defeat — all against England — from 15 matches, the SuperSport Park has been a happy hunting ground for the Proteas.
In home Test matches, the Proteas have a record of six wins against India as against a solitary defeat. That defeat happened at the Wanderers during Indias last visit in 2006-07.Meanwhile, South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl has clarified that his side would not be targeting individuals but the whole Indian team during the Test series.
As far as individuals are concerned, when you are talking about a very good Indian team you cant single out individuals. They arent a very good team because of one individual but because they are a very good unit, van Zyl said.
Therefore, if we are going to focus on one or two individuals, then we are going to miss the boat here. We are preparing for the whole Indian team, he said.
Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Mark Boucher, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Ryan McLaren, Paul Harris, Hashim Amla, Alviro Petersen.