Cape Town: South Africa is eyeing the No 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings after Pakistan’s unexpected series victory over current number one side England in the United Arab Emirates.
The Proteas will tour New Zealand shortly with an eye on roughly 1.4-million rands from the International Cricket Council for clinching the No.1 spot.
Graeme Smith’s team might now go to England later in the year already atop the rankings, as a 3-0 sweep of their own against New Zealand away next month will propel them a notch up from their present second spot.
The Proteas play Twenty20 and one-day international matches against the Black Caps first, before the Test series begins in Dunedin on March 7.
New Zealand’s lowly status on the Test rankings, eighth, is deceptive because they have been in good form recently, and South Africa prevailing there, and then later in Hamilton and Wellington as well, will not be an easy task.
South Africa has never lost a series to New Zealand, home or away, but they have also never managed to “sweep” a series against them of three Tests or more.
Six of the last seven series between the two have been played out over three contests, with the most recent in New Zealand (2003/04) shared 1-1 with one stalemate.