Proteas captain, Graeme Smith says playing for the Proteas brand has become a special and indelible part of his career as captain of South Africa. Smith was speaking on the eve of the second Sunfoil Test match against Pakistan at Sahara Park Newlands, where he will captain South Africa for the 100th time.
“Representing South Africa 100 times as captain is the mark that means the most to me,” Smith said after celebrating his 100th overall Test last week. “The Proteas brand and being a part of this team is something that is important to me and the rest of the guys. To be able to achieve this milestone in these colours is something that I will remember for a long time.
“Coming to Newlands, it’s our marquee Test ground in South Africa, the fans always make it special and we have played well here. To come and achieve a milestone like this at this ground is something that I’m really looking forward to.”
The Proteas have the opportunity to take their Newlands record to 11 unbeaten matches on the run, and for Smith, the chance to lead the Proteas to five consecutive Test wins. The squad is aware of the wounded visitors who stooped to their lowest Test total at the Bidvest Wanderers, and have trained and prepared in the same intense manner.
“They are in a dangerous position for Pakistan as a team after being beaten comprehensively at the Wanderers,” he said. “They are a team that is used to having two vastly different performances, and I think we can’t underestimate the talent that they have, the ability they have certainly with the ball, there is a lot of respect from our side for that. We know that if there is one team that can bounce back from a performance like that it is probably Pakistan.”
Apart from the relentless bowling attack which features some of the top bowlers in the world, Smith also believes the Proteas’ top six is one of the best in the world.
“Our top six is one of the best going around with our experience and the ability to adapt to game situations," Smith said. ‘We understand how to handle conditions and what the right play is at the right time.
“Test matches are about patterns of play and the top three especially has done well in setting up a base for the rest. The new ball is a tough place to bat in South Africa, but we have often come through that and been able to lay a solid platform.”