The Castle Lager Proteas Test squad will continue to drive their ambition of creating a lasting impact on the history books of South African cricket, after one of their most successful seasons on the road. Proteas coach, Gary Kirsten says the squad will work hard on holding on to the coveted No.1 status, which has been the target since Kirsten’s tenure started 18 months ago.
“It’s certainly something we’ve set our sights on,” Kirsten said of the No.1 status. “It’s been an incredible year and it requires time for the players to reflect on it for a period, albeit very short because we’re playing again in a few weeks. We wanted to become No 1 team in the world and then to hold that position.
“We accomplished two very big targets this year which was England and Australia; which was just a massive performance from the players and now we will set our sights on how we can hold that position. It is important to us, this team wants to leave a legacy behind.”
The win against Australia capped an outstanding year on the road, highlighted by the key series wins against England and Australia and an unbeaten record in 2012. Graeme Smith’s record as one of the most successful Test captains is a standout feature, as he continues to lead South Africa to new heights.
“It’s a very special occasion for the Proteas and for South African cricket. I don’t think it should be taken lightly what this team has been able to achieve over a sustainable period; it’s been nothing short of remarkable,” Kirsten said.
“Credit to the players who stepped up in high pressure situations to not only save Test matches, but also to play the dominant style of cricket we are capable of playing.”
Kirsten has been humbled by the character shown by his players, who put everything on the park during physical and mentally testing situations.
“They (the players) go about their business in a humble way, and they have achieved success in different ways. They are a mature group of individuals, they understand the demands that come with playing for their country and they respect that deeply. More than anything they play for the badge and what the Protea stands for, in a way that I have never seen before,” he added.
The Proteas play New Zealand and Pakistan in their final stretch of a busy season, and have the opportunity to increase their six-point lead at the top of the ICC Test rankings.