Smith vows to maintain top spot in ICC rankings

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Dhaka, Mar 16 (UNI) After taking over the number one spot from Australia in the ICC's ODI teams rankings, a satisfied South African captain Graeme Smith hopes that his side will continue to stay at the top and will prove their mettle to the world champions.

''I have a huge respect for Australia for what it has achieved over many years.

''Australia has been awesome at times but hopefully this will be the start of a period when South Africa will be right up there,'' he said.

South Africa whitewashed Bangladesh 3-0 in the recently concluded one-day series to take over the top spot from the side which is seen as the ODI benchmark for other teams.

''We have the talent and if we can control the small things get better as people, get better as players those things will go a long way to proving that,'' he added.

Smith's side has not only ensured that they will top the table on April 1 but will also receive the ODI plate and will pocket 175,000 dollars by reaching the annual cut-off date at the top spot. .

But second place still earns Australia 75,000 dollars and it will also pick up 175,000 dollars for continuing to dominate the ICC Test Championship table.

Smith, who himself replaced India's Sachin Tendulkar in the ODI batsmen ranking, expressed his satisfaction at his team's ODI form.

''Outside of winning World Cups and world championships, it (rankings) is the next most important thing.

''You have to be consistent to be ranked number one and I think we have reached that level of consistency over a period of time.

''We have performed very well and I am very proud of what the guys have achieved over the last two years,'' he added.

Acknoledging his team's efforts, the Protea captain said he was proud with his sides achievement.

''Those are challenges by themselves. I am very proud of this achievement even though there is a bigger picture for all of us.

''Being number one in the world brings with it a certain respect for the game itself and for the way in which we play the game and conduct ourselves on the field. I feel that is very important in making cricket a better game,'' he said.


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