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Smith cool about Zak, says Jimmy

Johannesburg: South Africa’s Test captain Graeme Smith has had his troubles against Zaheer Khan and his attempts to sort them out will be tested once the two-match Test series gets underway from Wednesday at the Wanderers.

Zaheer Khan may think he only needs to turn up to get Smith out. But he would be surprised to learn that the skipper is not at all too conscious over the matter. “I can tell you now, Graeme doesn’t think about Zaheer at all,” Jimmy Cook, Smith’s former coach and long-time mentor, remarked.

“Mentally, he is one of the strongest cricketers I’ve ever worked with. So he won’t be bothered by what Zaheer said. And when he faces him, he won’t think, ‘that’s Zaheer Khan I am up against, I should be worried.

“He’ll think ‘Zaheer Khan, you’re going to have a tough day because you’re bowling to Graeme Smith.’”

The leader of India’s attack will be involved in what could turn out to be the battle of the series. Zaheer knows that if India are to make South Africa dance to their tunes in the two Tests, he will have to be the man to draw first blood by making his advantage over Smith count for something.

Cook believes Zaheer won’t be able to get that right this time, despite the numbers.