Proteas to follow Aussies in aggression

Published: Friday, November 12, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:South African cricket captain Graeme Smith will use the Australian strategy of playing aggressive cricket to do well in the forthcoming two-match Test series in India starting from November 20.

"Australians are the best in the world and they played very aggressively and implemented the plans to perfection during their 2-1 series win recently and we have to learn from them and play aggressively as playing under Indian conditions is pretty tough," Smith told reporters after the team arrived here three and half hours late due to a technical snag in their plane which forced them to change planes Johannesburg.

"We have a very young and inexperienced side but we have done our home work well and I am sure we will play some entertaining cricket during this "rushed-up" tour of three weeks," the opening batsman added.

"Playing the Indians in India is difficult and it is totally different from playing in South Africa or Australia but we have some very talented youngsters who are very eager to make their mark in international cricket and I am sure it will be an interesting series for both the teams," Smith said.

"We also know that we have to get used to the climatic conditions quickly and I think the tour of Sri Lanka prior to this series has helped us to get used to the heat and the unpredictable nature of the sub-continent wickets," he added.

When asked whether the absence of two main players opener Herschelle Gibbs and spinner Nicky Boje would be missed, Smith, said, "They are class performers but we do have some very young and talented players who can do well on this tour".

Both Gibbs and Boje pulled out of the side after it became evident that the Delhi police were eager to question them in an earlier case for allegedly passing on information about the pitch and weather conditions to bookies.

"We have some very talented youngsters like wicketkeeper Thami Tsolikile, batsman Hashim Amla, Alfonso Thomas, Martin Van Jaarsveld, Robert Robin Peterson, Zender de Bruyn and others who can take this opportunity to establish themselves," Smith said.

Speaking about the preparation before they embarked on this tour, Smith said, "We had a very good training camp before coming here and we have new coach (Ray Jennings) with a new dimension and new approach. He has been very helpful and I am sure we have learnt a lot under him and the time has come for us (players) to deliver".

When pointed out that they did not have very good tour of Sri Lanka, Smith said, "We just lost one Test match on that tour despite playing pretty well let's hope that we can do better here and take up the challenge of playing on Indian pitches head-on".

When reminded that the present team does not have star players like Allan Donald or Jonty Rhodes or Garry Kirsten in their ranks, Smith, said, "We still have super stars like Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis and a number of youngsters who can become stars on this tour".

The South African team left for Jaipur to play in their tour opener against the Board President's XI from November 14 to 16.

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