Islamabad: Australia vice-captain Steve Smith says he has fully recovered from the concussion he sustained last month and is looking forward to his team’s first Test cricket series in Pakistan since 1998.
Smith was concussed when he landed on his head while attempting to save a six on the edge of the boundary during a Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka at Sydney. He missed the last three T20s against Sri Lanka before flying to Pakistan for the Test series which starts Friday.
‘‘The head’s progressed really well, the last few days, so I’m feeling in a good space,’’ Smith told reporters 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 the Pindi Cricket Stadium, venue for the first of three Test matches.
The second Test will be played at Karachi from March 12-16 and the third in Lahore from March 21-25. The series is part of the International Cricket Council’s World Test Championship, with Australia in second spot - between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
The Tests will be followed by three One-day Internationals and a T20 International - all in Rawalpindi.
This is Australia’s first full Test tour in nearly three years since they beat England in the Ashes in 2019, and playing on subcontinent wickets will be a challenge for the visiting batters against the likes of fast bowlers like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.
‘‘Getting accustomed to the conditions is really important,’’ said Smith, who is a veteran of 82 Test matches and has scored 7,784 runs at a healthy average of 59.87. ‘‘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 Australian spin bowler Ashton Agar’s wife had received a death threat on social media, which was investigated and deemed not creditable by both the Pakistan and Australian cricket boards, Smith said the squad feels 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.’’