Cape Town - South Africa are talking of a lengthy global domination of the Test
arena ahead of what should be a relatively straight forward assignment
against New Zealand in the looming series.
According to the stuff.co.nz website, the first Test starts at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday.
Star batsman-wicketkeeper AB de Villiers insists there's no
complacency in the Proteas ranks ahead of this two-Test series with a
weakened Black Caps outfit.
Following overseas series wins in England and Australia, De Villiers
said there was a steely determination to protect their No 1 Test
ranking and he believed that could extend for a number of years if they
planned carefully and played accordingly.
"We had a really good meeting with Gary (Kirsten, the South African
coach) before this Newlands Test ... we sat down at the hotel and
examined everything that's happened over the past year, and what's
coming up," De Villiers said after a practice session at Newlands.
"The last time we had No 1 we rather threw it away as if it didn't really matter to us.
"There's a real sense of care in the team and spirit in this side; I'm really looking forward to 2013.
"If we can come through the next (year) well I believe we have a
really good chance of dominating for four or five years around the
The challenge for the Proteas will be to handle a personnel
transition through that period as some of their stars grow long in the
They have already signalled a willingness to take care of some of
their older players and their real superstars like De Villiers who were
awarded time off ahead of the tests against New Zealand.
The Proteas fielded a new-look Twenty20 squad against the Black Caps and came away with a deserved 2-1 series victory.
De Villiers, who had complained of tiredness after the tour of
Australia, said he was refreshed and looking forward to putting his pads
on against New Zealand.
"It's all about managing your energy levels and injuries and
niggles, and ultimately keeping the passion and hunger for the game to
really succeed and do well for your team," he said.
"We play a lot of cricket throughout a year and we're in a situation
where we have to manage it really well. Most of our guys in the Test
team are getting a bit older, especially a guy like Jacques (Kallis) and
a few others who must really be looked after if we are to protect that
No 1 ranking.
"All formats are important to us, so we must just manage it
carefully between CSA and the players as well. But I feel very energised
and more hungry than ever, and hopefully the results will show."
The Black Caps played out a tame draw against a South African
Invitation XI in Paarl on Sunday. Stumps were pulled at tea on the third and
final day with no prospect of a result.
The inability of the New Zealand bowling attack to trouble the South
African side who were made up of under-19 and second-string players was
But the wicket was low and slow and there was the pleasing sight of
New Zealand's form batsman Martin Guptill getting through to 68 before
the game was called off.
The Newlands wicket will be far more sporting with bounce and pace predicted.
De Villiers, who knows it well, said "It looks like a typical Cape
Town wicket. A bit of movement in the first two days, nice and flat day
three, and then four and five hopefully a bit of turn for Robbie
Peterson and some of our spinners.
"I'm not seeing anything weird or different about it ... the seamers may enjoy a bit of grass on days one and two.
"The New Year test here is as special as they come. We didn't have a
Boxing Day test this year so we'll enjoy this one even more.
"I've missed the game so it's nice to be back for this particular
occasion, hopefully with a big crowd in ... you can't ask for anything
"There's a good sense of confidence whenever we play at Newlands."
South Africa have not lost at the famous ground since 2006.