Cape Town - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis insists that Test cricket is still the purist format of the game and the one that matters most.
The Proteas, having now recovered from their disappointing 2019 World Cup campaign, are preparing for a tour to India in September.
Three T20Is will be followed by three Test matches against Virat Kohli and his men that will serve as South Africa's first participation in the ICC Test Championship.
Du Plessis acknowledges that it is the toughest possible way to start the Test Championship, but says that the players are looking forward to it.
"You feel like you want to play for something in Test cricket, especially for the Proteas who have been involved in some real crackers," he said.
"It's refreshing. I think we as the players are looking forward to it.
"Any team will say that within a calendar year or so on the circuit, the toughest part of touring is probably playing in India. It’s a tough start to the Championship for us. Everyone is going to have to play in India eventually, so we might as well start there."
The last time the Proteas played Test cricket in India was in 2015 when they were hammered 3-0 on wickets that favoured the spinners heavily.
Du Plessis believes that the current Test squad, however, is well equipped.
"We're a Test team that is very mature and experienced, so we're probably a year away from some old and experienced heads leaving the game," he said.
"Right now we're a team with really good Test players, experienced players, and then the two or three young guys that are coming in and will be the future."
The disappointment of the World Cup was difficult for the skipper to take and his ODI future remains in doubt, but he still considers Test cricket the pinnacle.
"I think that Test cricket is in a really healthy state. All the three format players will still tell you that Test cricket is the purest form of the game. I think fans see that as well," he said.
"Test cricket is still the ultimate."
The first T20I against India is on September 15 while the Test series gets underway on October 2.