We have ample ammunition for Team India: Smith

Published: Saturday, March 22, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Chennai: South Africa skipper Graeme Smith exuded the confidence that they would be able to rein-in the in-form Team India in the three-Test series starting in here on March 26.

The 14-member SA squad arrived here today.

Putting aside selection controversies plagued by quota crisis for coloured and white players in the team, Smith addressing a news conference said, ''we have two good spinners- in left armers Paul Harris and Robin Peterson and a battery of young fast bowlers who are capable of dismissing India twice in the span of a game.''

Smith, the stylish left handed opener, who himself has been in great form with the bat said, ''we have good batters in the top six positions. They would have to do well if we are to click. I am confident that they are capable of fulfilling the task,'' Smith said.

Smith said himself and coach Mickey Arthur have spoken to fast bowler Andre Nel, who was left out to accommodate Charl Langeveldt, who himself dropped out amidst controversy.

''I have spoken to Nel and there is no bitterness,'' Smith said.

Talking about the crucial role for spinners, Smith said ''If the spinners are not able to bowl well in the sub-continent, they are not worth it.''

Hailing the performance of Anil Kumble-led Team India on the Australian tour, Smith said India are on a winning run with a tremendous performance in the CB Tri-Series against Australia and Sri Lanka. ''They have top-class batsmen who have got millions of runs. But we have chalked out a couple of strategies to contain them,'' Smith said.

Asked about the 'sledging duels' the Indian team ran into with some key Aussie players especially Andrew Simonds and Mathew Hayden, he asserted: ''But this will be a battle of cricket and not sledging.''

The stylish southpaw said however, while taking on Team India in the series, the most formidable factor would be the Indian team's mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton, who is a South African. He is very good at the job and would be playing a crucial role."

Arthur said he had spoken to Upton. "But he has told us that everything would be very confidential,'' he added.

The Proteas are scheduled to play the first Test at the M A Chidambaram stadium here from March 26 to 30.

 In Chennai, it would be first time that India and South Africa would be playing a Test match. The last time the teams had met here in an ODI game in November 2005, was a non-starter. The match was washed out by torrential rains at the peak of the North East monsoon rains.

The second Test will be held at Ahmedabad from April 3 to 7 and the third and the final game at Kanpur from April 11 to 15.


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