New Delhi, Feb 23: The high profile South Africa-versus-West Indies encounter on Thursday, Feb 24 will be New Delhi's Ferozshah Kotla stadium's first international match after a year-long ban.
One of India's oldest stadiums, Kotla was slapped with the ban after an India v Sri Lanka ODI in December 2009 had to be abandoned because of a dangerous pitch. Since then, International Cricket Council's (ICC) pitch consultant Andy Atkinson has been a regular visitor to Delhi to oversee the corrective work at the venue. ICC finally reinstated the ground as an international arena last December.
"I think we are all aware of what has happened in Delhi," South African captain Graeme Smith told reporters ahead of Thursday's World Cup Group B match. "From our perspective and West Indies' perspective, it is an unknown factor. But I think you can see they have made a really big effort out here. The field is looking good, you can see they have put a lot of work into the surface. You got to commend them for that. Let's hope it all works out tomorrow."
When asked about the potential efficacy of his tweakers on the wicket which is known to aid turn and bounce, Smith gloated over the fact thaty his side is well-stocked with quality spinners. "I think it's probably our best spin attack that we have ever had coming into the sub-continent. Most variety that we have ever had. We have got a lot of options, we have got three frontline spinners and also some batters who bowl spin."
While he sees an enhanced role for the spinners in the sub-continent, Smith expects fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to hurt opponents with pace and bounce. "There is always a place for genuine pace. I don't think anybody likes to face people who bowl at 155 kph. If someone tells you they enjoy it, they are lying to you."
Smith certainly knows that he's got a lot of potent weapons in his infantry and will be hoping they all fire in Thursday's match.