‘The right captain’ key for Proteas’ Test aims

2014-05-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Australia’s new status as the world’s top cricket Test nation may not last long as South Africa’s cricketers will — over the next few months — have the opportunity to reclaim the top of the Test team ladder.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo said this will be a major motivation to the team during their away series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in July and August.

South African cricket supporters woke up yesterday on Workers’ Day with the news that their team had been dethroned as the top cricket nation by the Aussies — of all teams. This happened despite the fact that not one of the two teams has recently played in a Test match.

The points, which the teams have acquired just over a year ago, expire over a period of 12 months and this resulted in Australia moving up the ladder with 123 ranking points, while South Africa have moved down to the same number of points. However, the Aussies are not ahead of the South Africans by much.

South Africa has been the top cricketing nation since August 2012 when they beat the English at Lords.

“I don’t really know what to tell you,” commented Domingo when he was asked about the change in the cricketing nation scene.

“It’s true that one likes to talk about it when you are the number one, but when you are not, you rather don’t want to say a thing.

“At least we have three Tests remaining, prior to the series against the West Indians at the end of the year, and that will be a motivation to beat them and become the number one nation again,” said Domingo.

Aussie captain Michael Clarke told ESPNcricinfo that this was the most satisfying day of his career. It is the first time in almost five years that the Aussies have regained the top spot. They are also the number one ODI team. SA moved down one place to number five on that list.

Australia’s next Test against Pakistan is only in October which gives South Africa the opportunity to regain the top position if they beat Sri Lanka in the coming series.

Australia fell back to the number five spot in 2010 and 2011 and that makes it all the more satisfying to Clarke that his team could fight back to the top spot.

“We have been through difficult times over the past few years and that makes it so much better if one thinks back where we were,” said Clarke.

“The players deserve a lot of credit and we will now have to work so much harder to remain there.

“South Africa also deserves a lot of credit for the long period during which they remained in the top spot and we look up to them and hope to do the same,” he added.

Domingo said the SA selection panel meets on May 12 and the issue of the captaincy of the Test team will also be discussed.

Thereafter the recommendation will be discussed by the executive.

“It is important that we get our act together and appoint the right person as captain,” said Domingo.

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