Graeme Smith says squad depth crucial for Proteas to maintain ``top dog`` status

Updated: Feb 22, 2013, 13:29 PM IST

Johannesburg: South Africa captain Graeme Smith has claimed developing squad depth is pivotal for them to maintain their top status in Test cricket ahead of their final Test match against Pakistan in Centurion.

Smith said after they won in England last year he had said then that depth was going to be the key factor for them to maintain the number one Test team ranking, adding if they do have injuries, having people who can step in is very important and they have already taken big steps down that road.

Going into the third and final Test against Pakistan, in Centurion on Friday, seam bowler Morne Morkel was injured and, once again, Rory Kleinveldt would be the go-to man. Smith said it``s always nice to have that support base and have other bowlers challenging for places, adding it creates good competition within the squad and keeps everyone on their toes.

Smith added if players can keep performing domestically, then that``s what he would want, adding he wants a strong domestic system so people can step up if need be.

For the first time in recent memory, South Africa are on the brink of a 3-0 series whitewash and a victory would also give Smith his 50th Test win as captain, and he surpassed Australia``s Ricky Ponting (48), the previous record holder, with last week``s victory over Pakistan in the Newlands Test.