South Africa in England 2012 August 22, 2012

South Africa's new mindset brings rewards

Their assent to No. 1 is proof of the changes made in South Africa cricket under Gary Kirsten - the most important of which is mental
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Over the last year, South Africa have transformed from a squad that could be counted on not to lose, especially over the course of an entire series, to one that can be expected to win when it matters. A gradual build-up of results took them to the brink but it was an added push that tipped them over. Their change from solid to spectacular is what allowed them to become world No. 1.

Their triumph in England - a second, successive series win in the country - is proof that changes have taken place. Some of them are are obvious and have come in the form of personnel. The addition of a third seamer, Vernon Philander, genuinely complements the existing two, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, and has given the pace attack an added dynamic. Meanwhile, although the legspinner, Imran Tahir, has not performed to expectation his mere presence forces a more attacking approach.

An entirely new coaching team is also in place with Gary Kirsten transplanting some of the techniques he used with India, not from a skills perspective but from a man management one. Allan Donald has brought the added intent and Russell Domingo the knowledge of the local game and masterful strategic planning through statistics, which is his forte.

The most important change, though, is the one that does not stick out so brazenly because it has come in the mind, through careful coaxing. To ignore that South Africa stumbles in their own head space would be to think of football without mentioning Brazil. Something held them back like an invisible hand, the force that no-one could quite explain.

It was most evident at major tournaments when South Africa would reach crucial stages and simply stop. It was less apparent in the Test format but still there. The two draws they allowed England to get away with in the 2009-10 series came with Andrew Strauss' men down to their last wicket and South Africa's high quality attack was unable to dislodge it. Take nothing away from the England tail, but those were matches South Africa should have won and may have had they been mentally tougher.

To get there, they needed a different perspective. South African sport was, and in some places still is, conducted like the army in its rigidity and focus to discipline. It was not a space to be creative. It was not a space to introduce too many outrageous ideas. It was not a space to express. It was a space to do as you had been taught because that was the way that would breed success. If they failed, and there were times when they did, it was never the method that was at fault, only the way they were executing it.

While South African sportsmen may have thought that way, all South Africans did not. Unconnected to cricket, Mike Horn, the adventurer, began his first mission. He swam down the Amazon River and when he grew tired of that, decided to hike across South America, a journey that took six months. As he conquered heat, he decided to opt for the other extreme and spent two years and three months in the Arctic circle and another three months in the ice of the North Pole.

For Horn, life was not about how well or thoroughly he followed instructions but about how flexible he could make them. He always sought something more demanding and always wanted to find a new way to handle it. He did it all because he wanted to form a collage of different events, with different degrees of difficulty to be the canvas on which he painted his dreams. "If you don't have any challenges, you don't have experience and if you don't have experience you haven't lived life," Horn told South African broadcaster Craig Marais.

It was that experience of the "other," that the South African team lacked. Playing cricket was about cricket to most of them and occasionally involved a round of golf. When Kirsten took over, he wanted playing cricket to be about more than that.

Simply put, Kirsten took the schoolmaster mentality away. That type of thinking is what Horn thinks often held South Africa back because it created a false ceiling of how much they could achieve

He started by giving a team that had had their longest winter break in 14 season an inordinate amount of time off. Between the Australia one-day series, which only contained three matches, two of which were spread over five days, Kirsten allowed the squad to disperse. They had been together but a week. In New Zealand, he sent Donald home early while some of the squad went on a fishing trip. Traditional team dinners the night before a Test became a thing of the past as well and in Leeds, Jacques Rudolph was allowed out with his wife and friends and the rest were not subjected to a compulsory squad meal.

Simply put, Kirsten took the schoolmaster mentality away. That type of thinking is what Horn thinks often held South Africa back because it created a false ceiling of how much they could achieve. "We all have dreams as kids and some of the great dreams that we as South Africans have is to play rugby or cricket for the national side," he said. "Once you get to that stage where you get to play for the Proteas, their dream actually stops but that's where it should start because you can only rewrite history from there onwards."

Perhaps the legacy of South Africa's isolationist past, where international sport was not an option for many who are now parents to the children who are playing at a high level, is part of the reason for this. Perhaps it is the effect of always chasing the leaders, instead of leading themselves that has caught up with them. Horn believes the past has a lot to do with it and said his has tried to exorcise the current team of that.

"You have to get rid of all the garbage and baggage that slows you down. I can't teach batting or bowling, but teaching how to be a better team player is my contribution. I try to get the boys to think like one and play as individuals but for the better of the team."

Their camp in Switzerland provided the biggest lesson in that. Gruelling alpine tasks, such as cycling and walking at high altitude for miles, brought them close together. After that was done, Kirsten allowed them to be apart. Even practice sessions were not mandatory because as Alviro Petersen explained, "if you feel you need some time out of the game and that is going to work for you then you must do that."

By empowering his squad with freedom, Kirsten has created an environment ripe to breed accountability and responsibility. Every member of that team knows what is expected of them and knows that if they fail to produce that, and have not prepared in the right way, it will be obvious and there will be consequences. They also know that if they fail to produce but have done everything possible to succeed, it will be part of what Kirsten calls the "process," and eventually it will turn into results.

A year into Kirsten's tenure he would have most thinking he has brainwashed the side to repeat phrases like, "we are not a results-oriented team," and "we are process driven." To the average person those sound like empty phrases, made up to be deliberately obtuse about plans. What they actually are is a sign of the change in the South African mindset to one that is not afraid to fail along the way to ultimate success and that is able to reach higher than it thought was possible previously.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | August 25, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    it's all down to Kirsten, the minute Arthur left rsa made immediate progress, and the minute arthur joined the hapless rudderless aussies they became the titanic...

  • POSTED BY Vidyashankar on | August 24, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Kirsten and Kallis deserve all the credit. Kirsten learnt so much with the Indian team that he has used that experience well with SA. Andy Flower whom the English think is the best coach should go back to county coaching if England intend to compete again in "world cricket".

  • POSTED BY TsoroM on | August 24, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    @ jabrankundi, point well made mate. I think this will probably just one of the very last few articles you'll read about SA getting to number one :-) Hopefully the next you'll read will be about them doing well Down Under and holding to that number one spot more convincingly than they did the last time they got there. I have to say though this Eng/SA was really gripping at times and would have probably been a touch exciting had the England bowling attack came to the party especially in that first test coz I felt there were a lot of periods where they were just going through the motions without proper plans and executions... And yup, bring the T20 ICC Trophy, India/England and Aus/SA (should be great cricket in these)

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Very nicely written article. It's true Gary made A GREAT DIFFERENCE.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    V vital points by Mr. Moonda. Just a reflection Mental Strength lead Pakistan to World Cup win in 1992 under Imran Khan, who always believed Pakistan can win the World Cup despite the fact the then No. 1 & fastest bowler, Waqar Younis got injured before the tournament & had to come back to Pakistan. Imran himself got shoulder injury. Pakistan actually had 3 & half bowlers than the required 5. Since his comeback in 1988, Imran has been choosy in his series selection & did not take part in 1990 series vs New Zaeland in Pakistan citing them as B team. Waqar destroyed Kiwis in that series (taking 30 wkts) & Pakistan won under Javed Miandad 3-0. As NZ topped WC 92 & Pakistan need to beat them in last Pool match in NZ (& then wait for Aud-WI match later to see if they can reach SF). When asked by furious Kiwis about his 90 comment of B team, Imran said, he still consider them as such & will prove in match 2moro. Pak beat them by 8 wkts & again in Semis to lift WC by beating Eng in Final

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    i think england should have monty panesar in the line up......

  • POSTED BY Knowledge_Speaks on | August 23, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Man, SA is all time favourites!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    True, making of this great team had started some time back.. Great Work Gary & Team... Today You are one of the tough team to beat !!!

  • POSTED BY veerakannadiga on | August 23, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Imran Tahir could not pick wickets on a 5th day pitch. This guy is just an excuse for a spinner. On hindsight SA could have played an all pace attack. Tahir is the only weak link in the strong SA lineup. Gary Kirsten is a magician. He deserves all the accolades coming his way.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    The mental side is vital and has contributed to the success in a big way, but remove Vernon and Hashim from the side they become very ordinary just like the attack who failed to bowl out England on the last tour. The diference is that Vernon makes you play every ball unlike Steyn and Morkel. The past unhealthy obsession with all out pace achieved little. Your key bowler is a Pollock, McGrath, Philander ,Hall at all times.

  • POSTED BY VillageBlacksmith on | August 25, 2012, 13:08 GMT

    it's all down to Kirsten, the minute Arthur left rsa made immediate progress, and the minute arthur joined the hapless rudderless aussies they became the titanic...

  • POSTED BY Vidyashankar on | August 24, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    Kirsten and Kallis deserve all the credit. Kirsten learnt so much with the Indian team that he has used that experience well with SA. Andy Flower whom the English think is the best coach should go back to county coaching if England intend to compete again in "world cricket".

  • POSTED BY TsoroM on | August 24, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    @ jabrankundi, point well made mate. I think this will probably just one of the very last few articles you'll read about SA getting to number one :-) Hopefully the next you'll read will be about them doing well Down Under and holding to that number one spot more convincingly than they did the last time they got there. I have to say though this Eng/SA was really gripping at times and would have probably been a touch exciting had the England bowling attack came to the party especially in that first test coz I felt there were a lot of periods where they were just going through the motions without proper plans and executions... And yup, bring the T20 ICC Trophy, India/England and Aus/SA (should be great cricket in these)

  • POSTED BY on | August 24, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    Very nicely written article. It's true Gary made A GREAT DIFFERENCE.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 15:52 GMT

    V vital points by Mr. Moonda. Just a reflection Mental Strength lead Pakistan to World Cup win in 1992 under Imran Khan, who always believed Pakistan can win the World Cup despite the fact the then No. 1 & fastest bowler, Waqar Younis got injured before the tournament & had to come back to Pakistan. Imran himself got shoulder injury. Pakistan actually had 3 & half bowlers than the required 5. Since his comeback in 1988, Imran has been choosy in his series selection & did not take part in 1990 series vs New Zaeland in Pakistan citing them as B team. Waqar destroyed Kiwis in that series (taking 30 wkts) & Pakistan won under Javed Miandad 3-0. As NZ topped WC 92 & Pakistan need to beat them in last Pool match in NZ (& then wait for Aud-WI match later to see if they can reach SF). When asked by furious Kiwis about his 90 comment of B team, Imran said, he still consider them as such & will prove in match 2moro. Pak beat them by 8 wkts & again in Semis to lift WC by beating Eng in Final

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    i think england should have monty panesar in the line up......

  • POSTED BY Knowledge_Speaks on | August 23, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    Man, SA is all time favourites!!!

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    True, making of this great team had started some time back.. Great Work Gary & Team... Today You are one of the tough team to beat !!!

  • POSTED BY veerakannadiga on | August 23, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Imran Tahir could not pick wickets on a 5th day pitch. This guy is just an excuse for a spinner. On hindsight SA could have played an all pace attack. Tahir is the only weak link in the strong SA lineup. Gary Kirsten is a magician. He deserves all the accolades coming his way.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    The mental side is vital and has contributed to the success in a big way, but remove Vernon and Hashim from the side they become very ordinary just like the attack who failed to bowl out England on the last tour. The diference is that Vernon makes you play every ball unlike Steyn and Morkel. The past unhealthy obsession with all out pace achieved little. Your key bowler is a Pollock, McGrath, Philander ,Hall at all times.

  • POSTED BY jabrankundi on | August 23, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    @TsoroM Yes my friend you are 100% right. I can clearly see this team is playing with a completely different mindset(Sticking with Tahir, declaring at headingley, knocking off England at the Oval). All i am saying is that we were just 62 runs away from a 1-1 draw. I say 62, and not 52, because England needed about 62 runs with three wickets in hand and were going really well. We just need to take the trophy and move on without worrying about our ranking coz that is what has brought our downfall in the past.

    I am a die hard SA fan. all i am saying is let's stop the praise and move on. Firdose is writing too much these days, can;t blame her though.

    Now i would love to see an ICC Trophy...T20?

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | August 23, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    England were smashed in every department possible. They didn't play in the spirit of the game and lost accordingly.

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 23, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    @Springbok111: Agreed! The team themselves are very modest, and have rarely spoken about the #1 ranking as the English have. The journos should follow suit and report on performances and other interesting tid-bits, but give the whole #1 ranking thing a rest now. It's becoming turning into broken record.

  • POSTED BY Jack_Tka on | August 23, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Like pointed out in the article, mindset does set up the stage for talent to come out. Anybody could see that inspite of being talented, SA team could never ever manage to reach the No.1 rank. Even though rank #1 is just a number, but its not being served out in a party. You need to perform and get results to be no.1. Faltering at the last barrier had always been the SA's nemesis. But with change the coaching team, this mindset seems to going now. A lot of ifs and buts follow the end of match, but the result remains unchanged. Only time will tell if this change in mindset has been real or not.

  • POSTED BY TsoroM on | August 23, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    @ jabrankundi, but Prior did not knock off "those 62 runs". Actually it was "52 runs". And the credit for him not knocking off those runs was due to SA's mental strength that has been developed through this "process". They believe in themselves more and are able to gut out the storms like the one Swann and Prior brought on Monday. Gutsy move like that extra over for Tahir to try and get Anderson and almost getting Prior. That's what Gary has brought to this team and article just gives credit where it is due... That maybe shying away from the norm in the game can be more effective as it's proving for our Proteas team.

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | August 23, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @ Springbok111 on (August 23 2012, 08:15 AM GMT) I like that comment of yours. Lets practice some modesty and humbleness! Firdose, I think its time to stop with the praising. One or two articles are enough for now. Lets just quietly go about our business! Incidently, I liked the article from Telford Vice. If you reading Firdose, I think more of those kind of articles will be much more appreciated instead of trying to re-inforce our number one ranking.

  • POSTED BY jabrankundi on | August 23, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    If Prior had knocked off those 62 runs, we won't be talking like this. It would have been 1-1 then and the C word would have been back and SA would be standing exactly where they stood 20 years ago. We just have to appreciate that SA are number 1 now and move on. If this SA team is really different, i am sure we would know after the T20 WC and the Australia tour.

  • POSTED BY Springbok111 on | August 23, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    I am very proud of the SA team, but let's not get carried away. Pumping up our egos to this extent can only end in embarrassment like it has for England. Remember, the bigger they are the harder they fall so let's just quietly go about our business as we have been doing for the last few years. If we are the best team in the world people will realise that by themselves. We don't need to write articles every two minutes telling them.

  • POSTED BY Unomaas on | August 23, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    While I'm liking this new Saffer mindset, I still believe that we have to acquire a ruthless streak to our mentality. As a country, we are very conservative by nature. Having said that, our test cricket has become more agggressive, with 20/20 cricket as the main culprit for this. Has anyone noticed that Hash + Kallis are more aggressive in their approach to run making? Their strike rates are constantly above 50 these days? This new found aggression is still not enough! When we experience batting pressure, we tend to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. While this has worked in the past, the result of such and approach has produced less than satisfactory results with many batting collapses. Since re-admission, I've always backed our bowlers to bag 20 wickets yet I always doubt our batters to make runs. Counter attack, domination, ruthless, aggressive, no mercy, etc. These are words that I want to associate with SA. We are not there yet but I hope we get there soon.

  • POSTED BY on | August 23, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    Brilliant piece on what it takes to win- both in cricket and in other endeavors - and how SA has focused on the pyschological blocks that stopped them in the past: previous failures obviously had nothing or very little to do with the team's technical skills, but everything to do with some intangible inability to win.

    It's also very important to address, as this article thankfully does, the lingering effects of the apartheid era. We were all victims, as was South African cricket - and hopefully this is now in the past, the ghosts of the past exorcised at Lords in August 2012.

  • POSTED BY Deez0 on | August 23, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Im not too concerned about Kallis retiring(but lets hope its not too soon!). We have a player like FAF du Plessis waiting in the wings- top order batsman, can bowl decent spin and a spectacular fielder. other names that come to mind are Dean Elgar, Quinton de Kock, Theunis De bruin. As far as the last 2 are concerned,they have just starred int he u/19 WC...I hope I have not just acted as a scout for "England" as they search for the next South African superstar now that they seem to have tired of KP!!

  • POSTED BY shibuvin on | August 23, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    It's very well evident that, after the ENG - SA oneday series, SA will be the Ranked No:1 in all the three formats..........:)

  • POSTED BY suni550 on | August 23, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    @ BokkeForever: you need 3 players to replace him. One for fielding, one for batting and one for bowling. That means he is equal to 3 men in the team. What a great player he is

  • POSTED BY heathrf1974 on | August 22, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Very good point. SA always had the talent, but sometimes crumbled at crucial times, whether it be ODI or Test. Namely when playing Australia. I'm looking forward to their tour down under. They will be favourites and have won the last series here, but it could be a dangerous tour for them if the Aussies get their act together.

  • POSTED BY BokkeForever on | August 22, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    Francois - Albie is 31, we need to start grooming some new kids on the block. There was much hype about Parnell, but really don't rate him.

  • POSTED BY on | August 22, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    All of this mentality, mindset talk and words etc etc seems to be so much over-hyped and over-blown. Fate and luck certainly plays an even more important part in all this success and failure. Simply put, SA were just better than England in all playing departments. What if Matt Prior had continued to play on an innings of his lifetime and achieved victory for England, would it have meant that all this mindset and mentality changes being talked about had disappeared in a single day? What if England had taken all those catches, especially that of Amla in the final test, who knows what might happened? Luck and fortune should not be underestimated. If it was pre-ordained that SA would eventually become No. 1 so be it because they deserved it.

  • POSTED BY on | August 22, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    @ Bokkeforever, Kallis is irreplacable, but a guy like Albie Morkel might just surprise us, we have depth in SA cricket, so let the good times roll...

  • POSTED BY Cricket_Geek on | August 22, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    SA are in a class of their own. They always were except they just could not perform when it mattered the most. Let's see how they perform in Australia which is going to be a litmus test for them after becoming No 1. Sure they will be no pushovers like India were. As for India, they should start developing quality openers who can play in all conditions. Having Sehwag at No 5 & Pujara at No 6 would be just great & lend some solidity to the middle order especially since Laxman has retired. Having Kohli bat at No 3 will help develop his all round game especially against quality quick bowling. Open with Rahane & Gambhir. Having 4 bowlers as always suits India until they get a quality all-rounder like Kapil Dev. Pathan can be considered but for test cricket not so sure

  • POSTED BY kc69 on | August 22, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    Tough task for England ahead.Flat tracks of India await you for a 4 match test series will not be too easy for you guys.So as of now forget about #1 and think saving your #2 spot.

  • POSTED BY kc69 on | August 22, 2012, 20:17 GMT

    SA is a good team but guys think of Gary Kirsten wherever he goes the No.1 tag follows i hope if these predictions are correct SA will win next world cup(ODI).

  • POSTED BY BokkeForever on | August 22, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    SA have one huge issue to resolve in the near future - how to replace Kallis. An impossible task. We all know about his batting and bowling - nothing further needs to be added as to how important his contributions are in this regard. But what about his slip fielding - surely the best slipper in world cricket - we somehow have to replace that too! What a great all round player. Impossible to replace!!

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | August 22, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    SA raised their game to claim (rightfully) the no.1 spot. It is easier to do that in 2nd place. Leading may not sit comftably with them, only time will tell. On the plus side they have Aus next lol. All these posts and not one prediction for any of the up coming tests. I said Eng would draw 1-1 (nearly happened). If we played our best, no rain and simple chances taken it could of been a different story. As for the mighty Aussies what on earth can they do to aviod embarrassment is more the question. Ind vs Eng im going for 2-0 Eng. Got to be optomistic.

  • POSTED BY tommytucker on | August 22, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Hammonds prima donnas are going to get smashed by India....they are waiting for you england....will revenge be sweet?

  • POSTED BY Deepakrio278 on | August 22, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Still this is only a bi lateral tournament...It is still not evident that tey can go on to win tournaments that are held between more than three teams..But as a Proteas supporter hoping and looking forward to the same..

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | August 22, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    the saffers need to be aware. the folks that are now giving you glowing tributes were the same as gave england similar. the hardest part is not get to the top, its staying there. with all teams wanting to beat you even more than before the hard task is just starting. england were worthy of the # 1 position whatever writers of opposite views say, but they were not good enough to keep that position. i feel the saffers will stay tops as they will beat the Australian in a month or so, and will get good enough results were england failed.

  • POSTED BY dkrk on | August 22, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    an enthralling read, completely agree wid u.. Keep up the good work :)

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 22, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    no.1_multicultural_team: Have you actually read the article?

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 22, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    @Hammond: Buying off the umpires should have helped your lot, but that wasn't enough.

  • POSTED BY FR3AKX on | August 22, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Being a passionate Indian team supporter, I've always admired the Proteas for their consistency and fighting spirit and have always hoped and wished that they can achieve more... It is so satisfying and pleasing to see them on top of the Test rankings which they deserved since a long time and I'm sure with Gary as their coach they'll win many more accolades and trophies as he did with Team India. He was the main reason behind India's success and rise to the top not Dhoni's who has taken all the limelight away but eventually we saw what happened once Gary left.. India were thrashed in Eng and Aus and now their strategy is to only play at home for next 2 years to come back to the top which is pathetic and lame. Gary Kirsten and Mike Horn should be given the credits for the rise of SA cricket team and like me most people around the world wish the Proteas can go on and win the T20 WC and put an end to the undeserving tag of 'Chokers' which has been forced upon them. Go Proteas!!

  • POSTED BY nattuz on | August 22, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    SA truly deserve the number one spot. currently they are probably the most well balanced team with the likes of two allrounders, the great jacques kallis and the one with a good potential vernon philander. their fielding is world class and they have proven match winners in smith, amla, de villiers and not to mention steyn and morkel. i believe the golden era of SA dominance of world cricket is not very far away and with the likes of kirsten and donald at the helm of day to day management of the players and their routines. the only challenge for cricket SA is to ensure that a suitable bench strength is created interms of support for the quicker bowlers.

  • POSTED BY no.1_multicultural_team on | August 22, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Oh phuleeze!!!!!!!!!!! SA have won two tests in their home like conditions against an OK side.SA is a good test side and congratulations on winning this series.But enough of this number one chest thumping,its just a ranking,not perfect,not a world championship,its just a ranking,just an indicator,thats it.We already had this number one word thrown at us by Eng media for last one year,thank God it is over.Now dont start it with SA,they will lose respect.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | August 22, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Leaking the contents of some Pietersen text messages helped a lot too..

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | August 22, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    Leaking the contents of some Pietersen text messages helped a lot too..

  • POSTED BY no.1_multicultural_team on | August 22, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Oh phuleeze!!!!!!!!!!! SA have won two tests in their home like conditions against an OK side.SA is a good test side and congratulations on winning this series.But enough of this number one chest thumping,its just a ranking,not perfect,not a world championship,its just a ranking,just an indicator,thats it.We already had this number one word thrown at us by Eng media for last one year,thank God it is over.Now dont start it with SA,they will lose respect.

  • POSTED BY nattuz on | August 22, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    SA truly deserve the number one spot. currently they are probably the most well balanced team with the likes of two allrounders, the great jacques kallis and the one with a good potential vernon philander. their fielding is world class and they have proven match winners in smith, amla, de villiers and not to mention steyn and morkel. i believe the golden era of SA dominance of world cricket is not very far away and with the likes of kirsten and donald at the helm of day to day management of the players and their routines. the only challenge for cricket SA is to ensure that a suitable bench strength is created interms of support for the quicker bowlers.

  • POSTED BY FR3AKX on | August 22, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    Being a passionate Indian team supporter, I've always admired the Proteas for their consistency and fighting spirit and have always hoped and wished that they can achieve more... It is so satisfying and pleasing to see them on top of the Test rankings which they deserved since a long time and I'm sure with Gary as their coach they'll win many more accolades and trophies as he did with Team India. He was the main reason behind India's success and rise to the top not Dhoni's who has taken all the limelight away but eventually we saw what happened once Gary left.. India were thrashed in Eng and Aus and now their strategy is to only play at home for next 2 years to come back to the top which is pathetic and lame. Gary Kirsten and Mike Horn should be given the credits for the rise of SA cricket team and like me most people around the world wish the Proteas can go on and win the T20 WC and put an end to the undeserving tag of 'Chokers' which has been forced upon them. Go Proteas!!

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 22, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    @Hammond: Buying off the umpires should have helped your lot, but that wasn't enough.

  • POSTED BY Highflyer_GP on | August 22, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    no.1_multicultural_team: Have you actually read the article?

  • POSTED BY dkrk on | August 22, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    an enthralling read, completely agree wid u.. Keep up the good work :)

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | August 22, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    the saffers need to be aware. the folks that are now giving you glowing tributes were the same as gave england similar. the hardest part is not get to the top, its staying there. with all teams wanting to beat you even more than before the hard task is just starting. england were worthy of the # 1 position whatever writers of opposite views say, but they were not good enough to keep that position. i feel the saffers will stay tops as they will beat the Australian in a month or so, and will get good enough results were england failed.

  • POSTED BY Deepakrio278 on | August 22, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    Still this is only a bi lateral tournament...It is still not evident that tey can go on to win tournaments that are held between more than three teams..But as a Proteas supporter hoping and looking forward to the same..

  • POSTED BY tommytucker on | August 22, 2012, 18:45 GMT

    Hammonds prima donnas are going to get smashed by India....they are waiting for you england....will revenge be sweet?