The Proteas’ largely successful tour of England will hold them in good stead in the ICC World Cup Twenty20 starting next week in Sri Lanka, said Cricket South Africa (CSA) acting CEO Jacques Faul.
South Africa won the Test series 2-0 while the ODI and T20 series were drawn.
“This has undoubtedly been our most successful tour ever to England from every point of view. England are always a very hard side to beat, particularly in their own backyard where both the conditions and the weather can provide testing obstacles. It must also be remembered that, when the Proteas arrived in England, their opponents were ranked No 1 in both Test match and ODI cricket,” Faul said.
“Winning back-to-back Test series in England has been an incredible achievement as has been the fact that the Proteas have either won or drawn all the three series in which they have been involved. They can now take a lot of confidence both into the impending ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka as well as next year’s ICC Champions Trophy which will take place in England,” he added.
Faul said the Proteas showed impressive depth in maintaining the pressure on the English players and being able to rest key players at different times.
“They maintained the relentless pressure throughout a tour that has lasted nearly three months. This has required many stand-out individual performances within the context of a team game.”
Faul had special words of praise for batsman Hashim Amla and pacer Dale Steyn.
“There surely cannot be a better all-round batsman in world cricket at the moment than Hashim Amla while Dale Steyn has taken his bowling skills to new levels. We are also indeed very fortunate to have two inspiring captains of the quality of world record-holder, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers.
“One could go on mentioning other deserving names and I believe it is fair to say that virtually every member of all our squads has made a telling contribution to the team’s success,” he said.
“What is equally important is that the Proteas have been hailed as a champion team throughout all areas of the media and this applies to their general conduct both on and off the field as well. They have been very popular tourists. They have made a nation extremely proud and they deserve our most sincere congratulations and heartfelt thanks,” he added.
CSA has also called on fans across the country to show their support by wearing the Proteas merchandise proudly in the lead up to and during the World Twenty20 tournament.
“South Africans have shown time and again that when it comes to major international sporting tournaments, they are the masters of rallying behind their team and coming together to show their passion.
We would like nothing more than for the country to get behind the Proteas in their usual fashion for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20, it gives a tremendous boost to the team’s morale knowing they have the backing of 50 million passionate fans,” Faul said.