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Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has said his finger injury in the IPL was a blessing in disguise, for it allowed him to spend time with coach Corrie van Zyl and the team management to prepare for the World Twenty20. Smith had broken his finger while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the early stages of the IPL, and how has now recovered.

"The injury has healed a lot quicker than I expected," Smith told reporters in Barbados. "It was probably a small blessing in disguise in many ways, with the change of coach - allowing me to spend some time with Corrie and the management team and plan for this."

van Zyl took over as coach following the resignation of Mickey Arthur in January. He oversaw South Africa's tour of India, where the visitors drew the Tests and were beaten in the ODIs. "To be with Mickey for five years, his resignation meant it was quite an emotional time - quite draining, especially for me on a personal level," Smith said. "There has been an interim process; the tour to India was quite quick after that, but the last six weeks have allowed Corrie time to settle down.

"He is a very detailed, hard-working guy - and the injury allowed me and him some time to talk and plan and get to know each other a little bit better and form a relationship.

"It's a little bit of a bonus coming out of the injury; otherwise, being in India for the last six weeks would have been a little bit panicky."

South Africa hosted the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007 and failed to qualify for the semi-final. They made it to the knockout stage the second time, in England, but were beaten by Pakistan, now the defending champions. Smith expected a closely-fought tournament.

"It is a pretty quick turnaround from last year's Twenty20," Smith said. "It's a very short, intense tournament - and a lot of teams are close together.

"That's what makes it so exciting to watch. It's very competitive, and on any given day any team can beat another."

South Africa play England in a warm-up game in Barbados on Thursday.

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