JP Duminy has said that Graeme Smith's absence would be felt during the Cape Cobras' Champions League Twenty20 campaign, but it would also give others a chance to display their skills. Like his captain Andrew Puttick, Duminy believed the team's sense of self belief was a strength, and if they get their basics right, they can overcome their inexperience in Indian conditions.

"It will be tough to replace a guy like Graeme, but I feel we have enough depth in our ranks to seriously challenge our opponents," Duminy said. "I think we have a very good skipper in Andrew Puttick who has good experience in the intricacies of the Twenty20 format. We just need to focus on our strengths and a good start will go a long way in boosting our chances in the Champions League."

Duminy said that facing different teams and conditions would hurry the Cobras' learning. "It will be a new experience for me in terms of playing in India where we will be playing in front of a different sort of crowd," he said. "While playing for the Mumbai Indians (in the IPL) I had a chance to interact with players from different parts of the world. But here I will be playing with the guys I have known for years. Whether it is for South Africa or Mumbai or for Cobras my aim is to help the team winning.

"It is a big tournament for me, especially considering that the third edition of the IPL is going to be held in India. I hope to build a sound platform for the IPL by getting to know the subcontinental conditions through the Champions League."

In Smith's absence, Duminy is a key player for the Cobras in all three departments. But Duminy felt that was no added pressure on him and that he wasn't worried about expectations. "Here I have to adapt quickly to the subcontinental conditions as they differ from what we get in South Africa. I really feel confident about the tournament and our chances in the Champions League."

The Cobras will play their first game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on October 8, after two warm-ups in the city. "They (Bangalore) are a good side and that they had finished runners-up in the IPL shows their strength," Duminy said. "They also have some very good players in their ranks like [Rahul] Dravid, [Anil] Kumble etc, but the Cobras are right up to the challenge."

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo