Devon Malcolm told Sky Sports News that he is disappointed England and South Africa will only compete in three Test matches this summer.
The winners of the series will top the ICC Test rankings and firmly establish themselves as the best five-day side on the planet - but former England seamer Malcolm says a contest of this magnitude deserves to be played out over five games.
However, the one-time quick expects his country to emerge victorious and has urged Andrew Strauss's side to "hit the ground running" in the first Test at The Oval, which is live on Sky Sports from Thursday.
"In a series like this, where we are trying to establish who the number one side in the world is, you need a five Test series," said Malcolm.
"You don't want just three games as any team that goes ahead can hold out and with the weather the way it is 1-0 could be the end result in the series.
"So England have to hit the ground running as South Africa are slightly out of season, while England did extremely well against the West Indies and blew Australia out of the water in the one-day series.
"The England boys are on a massive high and they have to hit South Africa hard before they get a feel of things. I'm positive England will win as I have a massive amount of confidence in them."
England and South Africa's respective pace attacks have garnered plenty of media attention, with many pundits believing their shootout will have a large bearing on the outcome of the series.
Malcolm - who collected 128 wickets from his 40 Tests - thinks the Proteas' seam attack will pose England problems, but reckons the hosts' quick men will be more lethal.
"The England bowling is fantastic; they are bowling really well as a unit and any guy that comes in always produces," said Malcolm, who ripped through South Africa's Test match batting line-up at the Oval in 1994, claiming second innings figures of 9/57.
"You've got James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Steven Finn and the list goes on. Even though Dale Steyn is ranked world number one, I still give the England attack an edge over South Africa's.
"Vernon Philander will be one to watch. He is an unknown quantity and the England players will have to do their homework and look at the video analysis.
"Morne Mornel, while a fantastic bowler, is not bowling so well, but if Steyn gets in a good rhythm and pitches the ball up he can swing it and bowl at a brisk pace as well.
"He could be a handful but the England batting line-up is well equipped to cope with the South African attack. England are a couple of points ahead."