Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson has revealed that his main goal is to see the Proteas climb back up to the summit of the Test rankings.
Despite losing 3-1 in their most recent Test series against England, South Africa are in second place on the standings going into their home summer.
Gibson, who left his role as England’s bowling coach to replace Russell Domingo as South Africa’s head coach, made it clear that the journey back to the top starts with the upcoming two-Test series against Bangladesh, which gets underway on September 28 in Potchefstroom.
“We’ve got people within the team that know what it takes to get to number one, and what we need to do now is make sure those people have still got that passion,” Gibson, who has been contracted until the end of the 2019 World Cup, was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “I’ve worked with England on two occasions now and every time we’ve played against South Africa we’ve had great battles.
“One thing I’ve always seen is a lot of amazing talent in the country and my job is to get that talent to perform on the field.”
However, going into the series against Bangladesh, South Africa will be without the pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris.
Philander has been ruled out of the first Test, while Morris will be sidelined for the entire Test series.
South Africa will sorely miss Steyn, Philander and Morris, but batsman AB de Villiers could make his Test comeback in Potchefstroom.
De Villiers had opted out of a majority of South Africa’s Test assignments for 2017 in order to spend time with his family and prolong his career.
There were doubts about whether he would feature in the longest format again, but he confirmed that he would continue representing South Africa in all three formats when he resigned as the country’s ODI captain.
“The most crucial thing for me is four quality fast bowlers being injured. That’s a problem straight away,” Gibson said. “To win Test matches you need to take 20 wickets and having your best four fast bowlers fit and ready gives you a chance to do that.
“I don’t want to get into any thinking that Bangladesh is an easy series. They’re going to be tough.”