Durban – With skipper Graeme Smith given a clean bill of health before their six-week tour of the Emirates, the South Africans are in a buoyant mood as they plan for their contests against Pakistan.
The 15-man South African squad leave on Friday night for the desert showdown that includes a two-match Test series, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals.
The first Test is in Abu Dhabi from October 14-18, while the second is scheduled for Dubai from October 23-27. The one-day internationals follow the Test series and the Twenty20 internationals are at the tail end of the tour.
Mohammed Moosajee, the Proteas’ team doctor and manager, said late on Thursday that Smith had come through a vigorous fitness regime over the past six months “with flying colours”.
“There’s no need for any panic at this stage. Graeme is fit and ready for combat once again,” Moosajee said.
“He will definitely play in the warm-up game and will be ready for the Tests and the ODIs. We had estimated that his rehabilitation would take a long time – we gave the whole process between six to seven months – and he’s done really well to recover fully.”
Moosajee also said that Smith had new footwear to protect him from future injuries.
“There’s a lot of protection in his footwear now that he never had before. He’s been to the adidas headquarters in Germany and he’s been fitted with custom-made footwear to help him along,” he said.
Smith turned out for the Cobras this week and had no problems with his injury.
Meanwhile, Jacques Kallis, who has played little cricket since the close of the last season, has also been declared fit and ready for the tour.
According to Moosajee, Kallis has been working with his fitness trainer and has had regular net sessions.
Smith and Kallis are key players in the South African squad. Both will be looking forward to getting bright starts on a tour that will also take them to Sharjah for an opening three-day warm-up game, starting on Tuesday, and then to Abu Dhabi for the opening Test on October 14-18.
“Kallis is a professional of the highest order,” Moosajee said. “He knows what’s required of him when going on a tour. We know that Jacques will be in prime condition.”
Meanwhile, it is understood that Hashim Amla, the No 1-ranked ICC Test batsman, may miss the second Test in Dubai as his wife is expecting their second child.