Smith also warns Sehwag of bodyline stuff

April 2nd, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by admin  

By Avishek Roy
Ahmedabad, April 2 (IANS) South Africa skipper Graeme Smith joined his coach Mickey Arthur in playing the mind games by saying his bowlers have sorted out India’s dashing opener Virender Sehwag. Sehwag has certainly raised a storm in the South African ranks with his blistering triple century in Chennai.

On Tuesday, Arthur had said his team has worked out plans to put a brake on the opener in the second Test that starts on what appears to be a lively Motera track Thursday.

Both Arthur and Smith say that their bowlers will pepper Sehwag with short-pitched stuff and they feel the pitch here is tailor-made for such fiesty bowling.

“It is important to come up with game plans. The pitch will allow us to do that. We have the option to bowl short to him (Sehwag). We have worked out a few things and hopefully we will be able to execute the plans against Sehwag,” Smith said on the eve of the match at the Sardar Patel Stadium here Wednesday.

Smith’s comments came a day after coach Arthur initiated the mind games saying that his bowlers have worked a out a few vulnerable areas in Sehwag’s batting and they would unleash bodyline stuffs before the Delhi dasher in the second Test here.

However, Indian captain Anil Kumble said Sehwag has played enough international cricket to take care of these things.

“He is good enough to handle that. He has shown in Chennai that he is capable of handling whatever comes his way,” he said.

Smith said their recent results in the sub-continent and the performance in the first Test in Chennai has given them enough confidence to put up a strong challenge in this series.

“This side has done well over a period of time. There were many positives for us from the first Test and we are looking for result here. We have the confidence in our ability that we will be able to execute our plans in this Test,” he said.

“We know their game. It is challenge to play in sub-continent, playing under different situations and conditions tests a team,” he added.

Smith also all praised his opening partner Neil Mckenzie for his performances since his comeback into the South African side after four years.

“Neil has been fantastic. His comeback is a lesson for South Africa. His experience will lend value.”

Smith said that he is resting his hopes on the experience of Makhaya Ntini to spearhead the pace attack on the lively track.

“Ntini is experienced and is a leading fast bowler. It is important for him to lead by example. The way he got the breakthroughs in Chennai speaks about him. He enjoys that role,” he said.

Smith said it would be interesting to watch how the wicket, the bone of contention, would unfold once the match starts. “Everyone wants to see a good wicket a balance needs to be found. The wicket looks good. It will be difficult to say whether it plays a role. We will have to wait for it to unfold. But it will be interesting to see how the heat and other conditions will affect the pitch.”

The South African captain said that the hosts, who are grappling with injuries on the eve of the match, has enough reasons at their hands to worry about, adding that if his counterpart Kumble fails to make the cut Thursday, it will give them a huge advantage as master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is also out of the match due to a groin injury.

“If he (Kumble) does not play you lose a competitor who can play a role. Yuvraj Singh has proved he is a good player but he comes in with huge shoes to fill in the place of Sachin. He will be under pressure. Ishant (Sharma) has done well, but he is very new to international cricket,” said Smith.

In the absence of Tendulkar, V.V.S Laxman will bat up the order at the number four position and Smith said: “It is not easy to bat with the tail. Laxman knows that. The top-order has done well for India, but this wicket may bring the lower order batsmen in play.”

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