Pretoria - The coming cricket season will be Corrie van Zyl's first full season as coach of the national team, giving him an opportunity to put his personal stamp on the Proteas.
The season promises to be a hectic one for the national team and Van Zyl started out by having the players hard at work this week at a fitness and conditioning training camp at the High Performance Centre at Tuks University.
"It's the first step for the coming season. It's all part of the bigger strategy that we have worked out," Van Zyl said on Wednesday.
"We have worked out what we need to do to better ourselves going forward and one of those things is conditioning. We have the time now to get the guys into peak condition, and once they are there, it is easier to maintain that condition."
Van Zyl said the team and management had worked out a strategy to take South African cricket forward and that they had also laid down markers to measure their progress.
"Every tour and series we play this season; Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India at home, and the World Cup - are all part of the bigger picture," he said.
"We believe if we tick the boxes and do things right, the results will take care of themselves."
He said among the boxes to be ticked were technical and tactical excellence, fitness and conditioning, and team management.
"We also have to ensure that we function well as a team and that we improve the image of the Proteas, which took a knock after our disappointing performance in the Twenty20 World Cup, (where South Africa were knocked out in the second round.)
"We need to make sure that we get the support of the country behind us again."
Van Zyl said although preparations for the World Cup in the sub-continent in February next year were already under way, the World Cup was not the only priority and he did not want it to become an albatross for the team.
South Africa have never won a World Cup, reaching three semi-finals and one quarter-final, and being knocked out in the first round of their home World Cup in 2003 and have often been called chokers.
"We want to focus on each series as it comes and each one will be another stepping stone for the team towards the World Cup," said Van Zyl.
"I don't want the World Cup to become a huge thing it is just another step in the process. If we focus too much on the World Cup, the players get too tense.
"And we also can't focus so much on it at the expense of the Test squad, which will always be a priority. We need to win those series against Pakistan (in Dubai) and against India."
The coach said he did not expect too much experimentation with the one-day team ahead of the World Cup.
"We have three one-day internationals (ODIs) against Zimbabwe, five against Pakistan and five against India," he said.
"That means we have only 13 matches to sort out our combinations ahead of the World Cup. I can't speak for the selectors, but I think where they will experiment with the younger players is in the Twenty20 matches."