South African skipper Graeme Smith feels the first hand knowledge of Indian players that his teammates acquired during the IPL would come in handy when the two sides clash in their Group C match of the Twenty20 World Cup here tomorrow.
“We have played against India a little bit of late and with a lot of our guys involved in the Indian Premier League, we have first hand knowledge of a lot of their players,” said Smith, who has recovered the finger injury he had suffered during the IPL.
“I think we have only lost two games since this competition started. Even though we have only played two T20s since the last tournament (England, 2009), we have generally got a good record in this format and we like to carry that on,” he emphasised.
Smith said India would miss explosive opener Virender Sehwag, who suffered a recurring shoulder injury during the IPL.
“He is a versatile, big game player for India. He is a batting all-rounder, who can bowl a bit of spin. He will be a big loss for them,” he opined.
Encouraged by their success against India on a slow wicket at Trent Bridge in last year’s championship, South Africa are expected to play more than one spinner in tomorrow’s tie at the Beausejour Cricket Ground.
“We beat India at Trent Bridge on a slow turner. Most of the wickets seem to be a little bit slower and taking a bit of spin. Our options are open. In our armoury we have got pace and spin. I think we have got enough there to challenge India’s batters,” he said.
The imposing captain said the time has come for South Africa to shed tag of being big game chokers.
“Every one of these tournaments, each team arriving here is trying to win the tournament. But the nature of the Twenty20 tournament is that the teams are so close together, it is such small margins that make the difference at the end of the day,” said Smith
Keywords: Twenty20 World Cup