Proteas

Proteas want No 1 Test ranking back from India

Ottis Gibson (Gallo)
Ottis Gibson (Gallo)

Cape Town - India's three-Test series in South Africa, which gets underway in Cape Town on Friday, is the biggest this country has seen since the Proteas hosted England in the 2015/16 season. 

READ: Steyn struggling to make Newlands cut

Having welcomed Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2017, South Africa owes its fans some quality Test cricket and with the star power on offer from both sides, it is hard to see this series being anything but quality. 

India arrive as the best side in the world and having thrashed South Africa 3-0 the last time the sides met in the longest format, back in 2015. 

But, crucially, that was in India. 

On Tuesday, the green tinge all over the Newlands wicket told its own story. 

"I'm not expecting it to change too much between now and Friday," Proteas coach Ottis Gibson offered at a press conference overlooking the scenic ground. 

With Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and maybe even Dale Steyn set to take the field for the Proteas, the Indian batsmen are preparing themselves for an onslaught of fast bowling.

There is something different about this tour, though. It may just be talk, but there is a not-so-quiet confidence in this Indian group. 

They have failed to win here in six Test series since 1992, but this time they believe that they can pull off a special win.

"They are currently ranked No 1 and they’ve got a lot of world class players and world class players aren’t just world class in their own back yards," Gibson explained.

"They’re a very good team and I think they will travel a lot better now. We know for sure that it is going to be a tough series. I don’t think you’re going to see them fold as much as they may have done in the past."

Still, the plan for the Proteas is very clear. 

They are currently second on the world rankings, and even if they beat India 3-0 in the coming weeks they will not be able to reclaim top spot. 

But, with India traveling to England Australia this year and with the Proteas hosting the Aussies, Gibson knows that there could be some movement on the table. 

"In ODI cricket I don’t worry too much about the rankings, but in Test cricket it is a lot different," Gibson said.

"Because there is no Test Championship just yet, the prize at the end of it is to reach the pinnacle to be called the best Test team in the world, even if only for a series or a week.

"The objective for this team is certainly to get to No 1 and we feel strongly that if we win the next two series, that will put us somewhere close to being No 1 again. Everybody in the group understands what we’re trying to achieve."

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