Rankings are not the main focus of Proteas, says Amla

2014-12-22 00:00

PRETORIA — Fresh from an emphatic innings and 220 runs win over a beleaguered West Indies team in Centurion on Saturday, the Proteas are not focused on the Test rankings, according to Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla.

The Proteas are in little danger of losing their number one ranking in Tests, as a series victory by any margin against the West Indies — plagued by pay disputes, player withdrawals, injuries and poor form — will maintain their position at the summit of the ratings.

Fast bowler Steyn was asked if he thought about the Proteas’ number one ranking being on the line in the series and was honest in his lack of knowledge about the rankings.

“Are we not number one now?” asked Steyn.

Captain Amla elaborated on Steyn’s response.

“I think Dale’s reply of ‘are we number one?’ kind of tells you it’s not a main focus for us. We’re not sure what’s going to happen in Australia and we’re doing what we do best.”

Hosts Australia lead India 2-0 at the halfway stage of their four-Test series. But even a series whitewash for the Aussies would not be enough to surpass the Proteas if they win their three-Test series against the West Indies.

“We’re just trying to win the series here. Everything else will take care of itself,” Amla said.

“We’ve seen a few new faces come into our team. It’s about keeping the consistency going. The new guys coming into the team need to learn what it means to play for the Proteas.

“I hope this game goes a long way in educating the guys and for the senior guys to maintain our standards. If my premier fast bowler [Steyn] is doing his job, everything will fall into place.”

Steyn did his prescribed job for the Proteas in a dominating fashion on day four, as he took four wickets in 16 balls to end with figures of 6/34, claiming the 25th five-wicket haul of his career.

His performance followed a wicketless return from 14 overs in the West Indies’ first innings.

Steyn put the contrast in his results down to pure luck.

“Sometimes you go past the edge, other times you find the edge and tend to make the batsman play a bit more. They’re then a little bit more wary and uncomfortable. Once I got one I was on a roll.

“Even Dean Elgar got a wicket [in the first innings] — I was a bit bummed about that.”

The Proteas have played 19 One Day Internationals and 10 Twenty20 Internationals, but have played just seven Tests in 2014.

With the World Cup around the corner starting in February, in New Zealand and Australia, Steyn was pleased to be playing the longest format of the game again.

“One-Days are just too much. There’s a massive uproar about the World Cup and I think if you focus so much on it that by the time you get there, you’re exhausted.

“So these three Test matches are just a great opportunity to get back into the longer version. It’s good to get fit again, get over that 10-over barrier.”

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