Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa paid tribute to Johan Botha and his Standard Bank Proteas ODI squad for beating Australia 4-1 at the WACA on Friday, a victory which has clinched the number one spot in the Reliance Mobile ICC ratings for South Africa.
Gerald Majola, CSA CEO, said: "Very few experts gave the Proteas much chance of success on this tour, but they return home tomorrow (on Saturday) as heroes having won the Test and ODI series in convincing fashion against the world champions in their own backyard.
"The historic Test win was something very special under Graeme Smith's great captaincy and now the cherry on the top comes under Johan Botha's captaincy in the ODIs with this series win and the world number one ranking.
"What bodes particularly well for the future of South African cricket is that a number of young players such as Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, Wayne Parnell and Lonwabo Tsotsobe have emerged as world stars in one of the toughest arenas on the world cricketing circuit.
"The inspirational captaincy of Graeme Smith and acting ODI captain, Johan Botha, also adds considerably to the talent now available to South African cricket. The squad is also backed up by an outstanding management team under coach Mickey Arthur and a national selection panel headed by the legendary Mike Procter.
"But these stunning victories will not take the Proteas' feet off the ground because they know the Australians are going to fight back to regain their pride and their status in world cricket.
"This has set the stage for what is going to be classic cricketing encounters in all forms of the game when Australia tour South Africa from next month. Both teams are to be congratulated on the excellent spirit shown on this past tour, and CSA is sure that the same spirit will prevail on the next tour.
"CSA would also like to thank the Proteas' Test sponsors, Castle Lager, and their ODI sponsors, Standard Bank, for their support which has enabled the Proteas to reach these high standards.
"CSA would also like to thank the South African nation for their support of the Proteas through thick and thin and it is just reward that their team is now one of the best in world cricket."