Cricketers prepare for shootout with India

THE Proteas arrive home tomorrow from a testing 10-week tour of the Caribbean that earned them three series wins against the West Indies but a disappointing early exit from the World Twenty20.

There will certainly be no time to rest on their laurels as they prepare for a new season that will be highlighted by the home Test series against India that could well decide the World No 1 ranking in the five-day format of the game and the World Cup to be held on the Asian subcontinent early next year.

The World Cup is the Blue Riband 50-over event and represents another chance for the Proteas squad to capture a major trophy.

The limited-overs squad won both Pro20 International matches and then swept the ODI series in the West Indies 5-0. The latter result means they are second on the ODI rankings with the same number of points as new Asia Cup champions India. The latter were in third position when the calculations were done to the third decimal point.

The Test squad won the three-match series against the West Indies 2-0 and remain in second place on the official rankings, just four points behind India.

The two countries go head-to-head in the Test series in South Africa at the end of the year, which will represent the Proteas' best chance to capture the No 1 spot.

"It's been a terrific series for us and we can't argue with the results we have had on this trip," said Proteas captain Graeme Smith.

"At the same time we are never going to hide from our poor performance in the Twenty20.

"It is something that was difficult to overcome but mentally it is important that we focus on 2011 and how we can do better."

Reviewing the tour, Smith said he had asked all his players for a special effort and that they had responded magnificently. - Sapa