ISLAMABAD (AP) — Australia vice-captain Steve Smith says he has fully recovered from a concussion last month and is looking forward to their first test cricket series in Pakistan since 1998.
Smith landed on his head on Feb. 13 while attempting to save a six on the edge of the boundary during a Twenty20 against Sri Lanka at Sydney. He missed the last three T20s against Sri Lanka before flying to Pakistan for the test series which starts on Friday.
“The head’s progressed really well the last few days, so I’m feeling in a good space,” Smith said in an online news conference on Tuesday. “I’ve done a lot of stuff … getting back to playing and had a couple of good hits in Melbourne before we came away. Today (practice) is just about ticking off facing fast bowling, and once that’s done, then everything should be fine.”
Smith was speaking ahead of Australia's first practice session at Pindi Cricket Stadium, the venue for the first of three test matches.
The second test will be in Karachi from March 12-16 and the third in Lahore from March 21-25. The series is part of the world test championship with Australia second between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
This is Australia's first full test tour in nearly three years since it beat England in the Ashes in 2019, and playing on subcontinent pitches will be a challenge for the visiting batters against the likes of fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
“Getting accustomed to the conditions is really important,” Smith said. “It’s obviously great to be back here in Pakistan … we’re really excited. We know how passionate Pakistanis are about cricket and we’re excited to get into it in a few days."
In the wake of reports that Australia spin bowler Ashton Agar’s wife received a death threat on social media, which was investigated and deemed not credible by the Pakistan and Australian cricket boards, Smith said the squad feet safe in Pakistan.
“We’ve got a lot of people here working with us. We trust our security and everyone involved, and we’re feeling incredibly safe here in Pakistan," Smith said. "We’ll be guided by our security and the people that we trust around us.”
More AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports