In a boost to the South African team, their team doctor today said that captain Graeme Smith [ Images ] will recover in time from his hand injury for the home Test series against India [ Images ] starting on December 16.
Cricket South Africa [ Images ] Medical Committee Chairman Dr Shuaib Manjra said Smith is expected to be fully fit for the series after being examined by a hand surgeon on the CSA Medical Panel on Saturday.
"We have been given the assurance that Graeme's injury is healing within expectation and we are confident that he will make a full recovery and be available for the entire series against India," Dr Manjra said in a statement.
Manjra said CSA's medical team will continue with Smith's rehabilitation and his condition will be reviewed again in two weeks' time. He said the expectation is Smith 'will begin training with the team when they reconvene on December 12'.
Smith had fractured the little finger of his left hand during the recently completed series against Pakistan and he had been advised rest from two to three weeks. There was concern that Smith might require surgery.
Smith sustained the injury when he was hit by a Shoaib Akhtar [ Images ] bouncer in the first ODI against Pakistan last month, and aggravated it by playing in the last two ODIs of the same series and the two-Test series in the UAE. He has now had five separate hand injuries in the past two-and-a-half years.
South Africa host India for three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 [ Images ] International match.
The Test series is billed as a contest between the world's top two teams, with India number one in Test rankings and South Africa at two. The first of the three Tests begins at Centurion on December 16.