We have the combination to match India: Smith | cricket | Hindustan Times
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We have the combination to match India: Smith

Despite arriving to India with a squad of just 13 players, SAF skipper Graeme Smith insists his team can do the job on the eve of the opening Test against India.

cricket Updated: Mar 25, 2008 18:02 IST

Despite selection controversy, South African captain Graeme Smith today said his team had "right combination" to meet the challenge from Indians in the first of the three-Test series starting here tomorrow.

"India is one of the better teams... Fairly experienced and well balanced. There are lot of impressive names in the lineup and some of the players have been there for a long time. But we believe we can match up to them," he told a pre-match press conference.

"There had been a lot of talk about youth and experience (in India). Youngsters will like to get out and prove their worth. But we believe we have got the right combination," he said.

Asked if South Africans would feel the absence of pace bowlers Andre Nel and Charl Langeveldt due to the raging quota controversy, Smith said he had faith in his team.

"Proteas bowling attack had huge capabilities and the has team worked out different plans for different Indian players who had good reputation," he said.

Asked if the selection controversy related to a fixed quota for coloured players had affected his team, Smith said "the players are matured enough to get over it".

"In a way, it is a bonus that we could come here moving away from the issue and focus on cricket."

Smith said first two days of the Test would be crucial as the teams would find the humid and hot conditions here tough to negotiate.

"The wicket looks pretty good but Chennai is pretty hot. Playing in the sub-continent, every session is important and managing the heat would also be important. I think it is going to spin at any stage," he added.

But he said the team might play only one spinner, indicating that Paul Harris would be the choice.

On Dale Steyn, who claimed 14 wickets in the preceding two-Test series in Bangladesh, Smith said the bowling pace spearhead had motivated himself.

Smith said it was "toughest job" to don the captain's hat, open the innings and meet personal targets, simultaneously.

"I have had a good run in the recent tour of Bangladesh. I am looking forward to play a big part in this series," he added.

Probable South Africa XI:

Graeme Smith (capt), Neil McKenzie, Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, A.B. de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn, Paul Harris.