Arthur eyes top spot for Proteas

South Africa cricket coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday his team hope to topple Australia from the top of the one-day charts by winning all their one-day internationals against Bangladesh.

Australia are currently the best one-day side with 127 points, ahead of South Africa on decimal points.

But if the Proteas beat Bangladesh 3-0 in their upcoming series of internationals, starting on Sunday, they will become world number one. They will, however, remain in second spot if Bangladesh win even a single game.

Arthur told reporters: ”It surely gives us another kind of motivation. It is nice to be ranked the top side in the world.”

However, he said the side would not be blinded by rankings alone as the priority was to build a winning team ahead of the upcoming assignments.

”We take a lot of pride in the rankings. We were the number one side when the year-end rankings were calculated in April last year. But having said that, it is not the be all and end all,” he added.

”We have a lot of young guys coming in. We want to give these youngsters an opportunity ahead of the tour of England, the ICC Champions trophy and, of course, the Australian tour at the end of the year.

”We want to find out about different players, see who can come in and take over from [retired bowler] Shaun Pollock, [and] find a batsman at the number seven spot.”

Despite whitewashing the hosts in their recent two-Test series, Arthur said South Africa would be wary of Bangladesh in the one-dayers as they were capable of upsetting top teams on their day.

They proved this when they beat the Proteas in a super eight match in last year’s World Cup.

”Bangladesh are a dangerous one-day outfit. They played very well during that World Cup game. We don’t like losing to any team, every defeat hurts us. So that [defeat] will keep us on our toes in the one-dayers,” he said.

Arthur also revealed that all-rounder Vernon Philander had been ruled out of the upcoming series due to a hamstring injury.

”He is out of action for a few days but we have not asked for a replacement,” he said. — Sapa-AFP

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