Proteas captain, Graeme Smith has praised his team’s culture of preparation and work ethic ahead of the second Sunfoil Test match against New Zealand at Axxess St George’s. The Proteas enter the match on the back of a poor record at the venue, but are confident in their preparedness for the final match of the series.
“We have gone about our work as we have consistently over the last 12 to 14 months,” Smith said of the squad’s build-up to the match. “There has been a humble nature within the squad, we go about our work well.
“Our preparation has been as focused and as important as it was before Cape Town. Hopefully we can go out and put that into play in the next few days and put the hoodoos and negativities to bed.
“We would love to go and win the series, we have this pathway and we want to keep winning. That is what we are all about.”
This year will mark 10 years since Smith was handed the captaincy reigns, a journey that started tumultuously as a 22 year-old and has reached a climax filled with worldwide admiration and respect.
“Things are a lot more settled,” Smith said of the current environment. “There is an understanding of how to be successful and there is a good maturity within the group and an understanding of what needs to be done at this level.
“Back in the day we were always hard working and always gave our best, discipline was the major word around South African cricket. I think there is a good maturity which has allowed people to grow and to play their game.”
He gave credit to the support staff led by Gary Kirsten, whom he says has helped the Test squad move past it’s “growth period” into a formidable unit.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed leading in this environment,” he said. “ The coaching staff take a lot of pressure off you as a captain, and they allow you to focus on the game and not to worry about too many issues off the field.”
Smith also confirmed that Rory Kleinveldt coming in for the injured Vernon Philander would be the only change to the XI that played at Sahara Park Newlands.