Monday 2 June 2008 

Graeme Smith Targets Middlesex Tour Match For Return

After reports that South African captain Graeme Smith may not be fit for the opening Test against England at Lord's after tearing a hamstring in the Indian Premier League semi-final, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) coaching team have announced that they expect him to be fit for Lord's, and to make his return from injury in the tour match against Middlesex.

South Africa open the tour against Somerset at the end of June before moving on to Uxbridge to take on Middlesex prior to the first Test.

"Originally, Graeme thought he would be out for about three weeks," commented national coach Mickey Arthur of the injury that occurred during the IPL semi-final between the Rajasthan Royals and the Delhi Daredevils and kept him out of Sunday’s final against the Chennai Super Kings.

"But we have decided to follow a more conservative route for his grade two tear and allow him a full four weeks off.

"I don’t think it would be a good idea to rush him back for the tour opener against Somerset and the second warm-up match against Middlesex looks the better option. He is in very good form at the moment and he should be able to get two knocks in the Middlesex encounter.

"We also have three full days of practice before the Lord’s Test begins, so I have every confidence that he will be fit and ready to lead the side when the serious business begins."

CSA also announced that Morne Morkel (hamstring), Monde Zondeki (groin) and Jacques Kallis (calf) were all on the way back to full fitness in preparation for the tour to England.

South Africa play four Tests, five One Day Internationals and a Twenty20 International, with the Lord's Test starting on July 10th.