Smith set to play through the pain barrier

Smith set to play through the pain barrier

Smith set to play through the pain barrier

South African skipper Graeme Smith

Contrary to the official word on Friday which said the Protean skipper had suffered ligament damage in his left little finger, Smith himself revealed on Saturday afternoon that a fracture had been detected in one joint of the finger.

“It really is about dealing with pain from that perspective,” Smith told newsmen before practice. “I will try and train and see what I can get through. We will make a decision after training today.” At training, Smith took no catches, tackled a few throwdowns and then left for the dressing room, triggering speculation that he had ruled himself out of the match. Five minutes later, he returned in full cricketing gear and faced more than 20 deliveries from Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Ryan McLaren and Lonwabe Tsotsobe, before moving to the adjoining spinners’ nets for another short stint.

If there was any pain, Smith kept it well concealed. After all, he is a master at playing through pain. “I am pretty confident that I can deal with the pain and get through it,” Smith remarked. “Injuries have been part of every sportsman’s career. In the last two years, I certainly have had a few pain issues to deal with, and I have got through them reasonably well.”

The 29-year-old batted with a broken hand against Australia in Sydney early last year and braved an elbow pain during the corresponding home season immediately afterwards. “The big question is whether you will be able to contribute and give your best for the team. That’s the question you need to ask yourself, especially as the leader,” Smith said. “The objective is to contribute and be as professional as you ask a lot of the players; you need to be able to compete to that level. Those are the things you need to answer going into the Test, and hopefully make the right decisions.”

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