South African batsman JP Duminy has been away from Test cricket for almost a year due to injury but hopes that both he and his team can make a strong start to their series against Pakistan.
Duminy is set to feature in the three-day game against Pakistan 'A' which will give the Proteas vital match practice and offer fringe players in the Pakistan squad to force their way into contention for the two-Test series.
The opening Test is in Abu Dhabi and begins on 14th October but for now, Duminy and his team-mates are focussing on the task at hand.
"I’m quite happy to be starting back in," Duminy said. "The last two months have been good from a performance point of view, I have really enjoyed being back playing and playing in different tournaments."
Duminy's return to action following a long lay-off due to an Achilles injury saw him earn the man-of-the-series award in Sri Lanka and then he performed well for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Champions League Twenty20.
"I’m really just excited to be back in Test cricket to be honest," he added. "South Africa hasn't played in seven months and everyone is geared up for the series; we want to hit the ground running from a Test series point of view and hopefully we can start off with the warm-up match tomorrow."
And South Africa may not just be requiring the left-hander to score runs in the series, as Duminy revealed he has been working hard on his bowling.
"Discussing different strategies and fields has helped, that is where Claude (Henderson) has been really good from a bowling perspective.
"I think that is going to be important going forward in this series with the wickets turning more than they did before, for me the consistency in my length has always been key to my bowling performances."
Meanwhile, fast bowling coach Allan Donald says that South Africa will go into the Test match completely prepared and ready to perform at their best.
"The run out in the next three days in going to determine how sharp we are when we get to the first Test," he said.
"We are going to have to look after guys because the heat is a big factor but I don't have any doubt that we will go into the first Test 110% prepared.
"It’s important that we don't play catch-up cricket going into Abu Dhabi, the big thing in the next three days is for us to get some good overs and miles behind us."
© Cricket World 2013