Michael Clarke says even if South Africa steal the No.
1 ranking from his team this week in Harare, they’ll need to put up at the World Cup to prove they’re the best team in one-day cricket.
The Proteas have a tortured history in World Cup competition, having never won the 50-over crown claimed four times by Australia.
South Africa can assume the No.1 ranking from Australia if they win the current tri-series, with star batsman Faf du Plessis admitting the Proteas are determined to add to the top place they already hold in the Test standings.
However, Clarke admits he won’t be losing any sleep should South Africa edge ahead in the fickle ICC rankings system.
In limited overs cricket, Clarke has always maintained the World Cup is the be all and end all.
“Whoever wins that tournament will be seen as the No.1 one-day team in the world,” says Clarke.
“That’s the way I’ve always looked at one-day rankings.
“I guess you love being No.1 in any form of the game but … you get a great indicator who is the No.1 team in the world in six months time playing in a World Cup. That’s what dictates it.”
Australia are always difficult to beat on home soil, with last summer’s Ashes a prime example of how Clarke’s team can grows another leg in their own conditions.
After winning three consecutive World Cups, Australia fell short the last time the trophy was contested in the sub-continent in 2011.
Clarke is confident home support will make his side hard to beat.
“I hope so. The home support played a huge part in us having the success we did last summer,” he said.
“We’d love for it to be exactly the same.
“I think the Australian public in general like to see fighters, that’s in our blood … and that’s what this Australian team is trying to do.
“We hit rock bottom in India (on the 2013 Test tour) and we’ve been able to turn it around.”