Johannesburg: After a successful stint with India, South Africa’s coach Gary Kirsten is now bidding to help his home team become the No.1 side in the world. Kirsten, who led India to the World Cup in 2011 and the No. 1 spot in Test cricket, feels the South Africans have the ability to dominate world cricket in the coming years.
"We've set ourselves some lofty standards, and we want to be the best team in world cricket, so we're very excited about where we're going," Kirsten was quoted as saying by SAPA after the South African squad arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday night following a six-week tour of New Zealand.
For the first time since stepping down as India coach last year, Kirsten will be against the world champions, who face South Africa in a one-off Twenty20 match at the Wanderers on Friday.
Kirsten was happy with South Africa's performance in New Zealand, where they lost only one of nine matches in all formats on their tour, winning all the three series.
"It was nice to go on tour and connect with all the players. We have new management, and some new players, and we were a long way from home, but we connected well as a unit. There were some really positive signs in all the formats in terms of our combinations and how we're trying to take things forward, so I thought it was a highly successful tour," said Kirsten. "Our planning will be very important going into that England series, so we'll certainly do a lot of homework. But I feel that we've taken the step that we needed to in terms of being ready to go and confront England in England. From a Test team point of view, I'm happy with where we are," he said, ahead of a three-Test contest in July and August between Test cricket's top two teams.
South Africa play in England and then Australia this year in the toughest challenges yet for the new Proteas coach, who took over in 2011 after guiding India to the World Cup title. "I think this [New Zealand] tour has really taught us about our team and what their strengths are and what are the areas we want to work at. England in England is tough opposition ... But we are all looking forward to that Test series."