South Africa Test captain Graeme Smith said the priority this season was to challenge India for first position in the world rankings.
The Proteas, who are expected to confirm today that former India World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten will take charge of the Test, one-day and Twenty20 squads, host Australia and Sri Lanka this year. Speaking in South Africa for the first time since his team suffered a shock World Cup quarter-finals loss to New Zealand two months ago, opening batsman said overtaking India must be the major goal of the Test side.
“I remain extremely positive about the Proteas as we set about challenging India for their number one Test ranking,” he said. “Our top order did not bat as well as expected [at the World Cup] and it is something - myself included - that we need to work hard to address as we prepare for tough series against Australia and Sri Lanka.”
Smith also confessed that his form at the World Cup and the Indian Premier League had not matched expectations, and hard work over the coming months was the solution.
“I will work hard over the next few months to once more attain the high standards I expect of myself. A knee injury that was more serious than originally anticipated cut short my IPL season. But time is on my side to get fully fit for the new season and to do what I like doing - giving my best for my country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2011.
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