Australia's 2-0 loss to India in the final of the CB Series means a 3-0 clean-sweep against Bangladesh will see South Africa reclaim the No. 1 position in the ICC ODI rankings for teams, which they occupied briefly last year. While admitting that gaining the No. 1 spot was an added motivation, Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, said trying out youngsters would be the focus during the upcoming three-match series.
"It surely gives us another kind of motivation. It is nice to be ranked the top side in the world," Arthur said. "We take a lot of pride in the rankings. We were the No.1 when the year-end rankings were calculated in April last year. But having said that, it is not the be-and-end-all.
"We have a lot of young guys coming in. We want to give these youngsters an opportunity ahead of the tour of England, the ICC Champions trophy and, of course, the Australian tour at the end of the year," Arthur said. Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini have been rested for the series, while Shaun Pollock recently bowed out of international cricket at the end of West Indies' tour to South Africa.
Arthur indicated that finding a replacement for the all-round abilities of Pollock was one of the priorities. "We want to find out about different players, see who can come in and take over from Pollock, [and] find a batsman at the No. 7 spot."
Bangladesh had upset South Africa in the Super Eights stage of the World Cup last year, and Arthur said his team needed to be cautious. "Bangladesh is a dangerous one-day outfit. They played very well during that World Cup game [in Guyana]," he said. We don't like losing to any team, every defeat hurts us. So that [defeat] will keep us on our toes in the [upcoming] one-dayers."
South Africa are down to a 13-man squad after the hamstring injury to allrounder Vernon Philander. Arthur said no replacement had been called for.