Proteas begin quest for No1 spot
THE Proteas jetted out of the country last night en route to England via Switzerland with one goal in mind - returning as the No1 test cricket side.
Gary Kirsten and his charges will be spending the next four days in camp in Zurich with renowned South African explorer Mike Horn before setting out to the UK on Friday for their first tour match against Somerset on Monday.
Kirsten was cautious of the team's chances of claiming top spot. "We want to be the best team in the world. Once we put that peg in the ground, everything else will follow," Kirsten said.
"We have to prepare as best as we can in order to give ourselves a good chance. It will be nice to achieve that, but we know we have a long way to go to get there."
Captain Graeme Smith, who will play in his 100th test at The Oval, reiterated the importance of becoming the leading test team.
"We don't need more motivation than knowing we will be travelling to [rivals] England. We have touched close to the top for a number of years. We are hoping that this is the year we will take a step forward," he said.
The Proteas will be making their fifth tour to England since re-admission to international sport. Their last tour of England was a successful 2-1 series win in 2008.
Smith was confident that his bowling attack will assist them to achieve their goals for the tour.
"We do hope to dominate with the bowling. Our focus is to get the best out of the attack," he said.
The South African batting line-up will also be tested by the on-song English bowling attack, which is rated, alongside the Proteas, as the best in the world currently.
Smith believes there is enough experience in the side to face any danger posed by the English bowlers.
In the past the Proteas have battled at The Oval, where the first test will be played, but Smith thinks his side will adapt to conditions quickly.
"A crucial part of our success is that we have enough batsmen who have done well over there before," he said.
"It will come down to partnerships and being able to perform well together and for each other."