Smith lauds players' maturity

Smith lauds players' maturity

“As a Test team, this is one thing we wanted to tick off as a team — win here in India in this two-match series. We have taken the first step. It is a massive goal for all of us,” Smith said in the post match press do.

From a personal perspective, it has been a really tough two weeks. It is a credit to the maturity the players have shown. It shows how much it means for them to play for South Africa.”

The ‘really tough two weeks’ Smith was referring to stemmed from the resignation of coach Mickey Arthur with reports suggesting the coach and the captain were not on talking terms, and from the sacking of the entire selection committee. “I think personally, more than the others guys, that some rubbish has been written back home last week.

From a team perspective, the set-up that had been there for the past five years had changed and everyone was trying to find his feet,” the South African captain said. 

It helped that there was a lot of honesty around the group. (Interim coach) Corrie (van Zyl) has created a good working environment for the players; we have settled down and focused more and more on our cricket.”

Reflecting on South Africa’s third innings win in India in the last decade, Smith went on, “Like I said before, we had everything to gain. We know how tough it is to play here and how satisfying it is to get a victory. We got one in 2008, we had to work just as hard. It’s good to see how happy the guys are in the dressing room and how much this means to them. We played positive cricket.”

On Dale Steyn, who finished with match figures of ten for 108, Smith gushed, “He is a quality swing bowler. He swings the ball at pace. He didn’t move it a great deal but swung it a little bit. It was a great display of fast bowling and he backed it up with a little reverse swing.”

There was also great acknowledgement of left-arm spinner Paul Harris’ role.
“I have got used to guys writing off Paul,” he said, with a twinkle.

“Over the last two years, we have travelled to many countries – England, Australia -- and everyone doesn’t talk much about Paul. He knows his role within the team. He allows the other guys, Morne and Steyn and Jacques to do the role they need to. He picked up some key wickets today, some big names.”

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