Smith will be fit for the first Test against England: Arthur

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS  


Johannesburg, June 3 (IANS) South African captain Graeme Smith, who injured his hamstring during the Indian Premier League semifinal and was a doubtful starter for the series against England, will be fit in time for the first Test at Lords on July 10, believes coach Mickey Arthur. Smith has been a prolific scorer for IPL champions Rajasthan Royals but missed the final against Chennai Super Kings because of the injury. He is targeting the three-day tour match against Middlesex for the comeback.

“Originally, Graeme thought he would be out for about three weeks,” national coach Mickey Arthur said of the injury that occurred during Rajasthan Royals’ semifinal match against Delhi Daredevils.

“But we have decided to follow a more conservative route for his grade two tear and allow him a full four weeks off. I don’t think it would be a good idea to rush him back for the tour opener against Somerset and the second warm-up match against Middlesex looks the better option.”

Smith would in any event not have played any cricket in the build-up to the tour as the Proteas will only start cricket-specific preparation when they arrive in England with the first practice scheduled for June 26.

“We also have three full days of practice before the Lord’s Test begins, so I have every confidence that he will be fit and ready to lead the side when the serious business begins.”

Arthur also had good news on the other Proteas on the injury list. Morne Morkel, who had a grade one hamstring tear, is starting to do some bowling and his rehab should be complete in a week. Monde Zondeki (groin injury) is also making sound progress.

Jacques Kallis, who played for Mumbai Indians in IPL, picked up a minor calf strain that is not regarded as a problem.

The Proteas will attend a camp in Knysna from June 18-21 before leaving for England on June 24. They are scheduled to play four Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 international on the tour.

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