Alviro Petersen told Cricket AM about South Africa's rise up the rankings

Last Updated: 10/08/13 1:00pm

Alviro Petersen told Cricket AM South Africa's rise to the top of world cricket was a carefully planned two-year project.

The Proteas became the first side to lead the standings in Test, ODI and T20 cricket in August 2012 and, although they've since relinquished their grip on the limited overs titles, they still cling on to the Test Championship mace, which, Petersen says, they made their number one aim a couple of seasons ago.

"We ask so much of our bowlers but they keep on producing the goods and I think they're the world's best."

Alviro Petersen

"As a team, about two years ago, we sat down and said we wanted to be the best cricket team in the world," he said.

"Becoming the world's number one team means you have to be the number one Test team because, for so many players and supporters, Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game.

"Then we looked at where we had to play in the next two years and England and Australia away came up and we knew to beat those two teams in their back yard means so much in terms of world cricket and where we wanted to be.

"We made it quite clear to ourselves, to our supporters and everyone in South Africa we wanted to be the best in the world, and that's where it started."

Key

Petersen played a key role in South Africa's success in England in 2012 as the visitors recorded a comprehensive 2-0 success to move to number one in the world, before securing a 1-0 series win Down Under at the end of the year.

The batsman, who has represented Somerset this summer, says he has fond memories of the three Tests on English soil last summer and insisted the intensity of the contest - and the reward South Africa garnered - made it a very special success for the team.

"England are a fantastic cricket team and to play them in their own back yard was always going to be a tough ask for us," he reflected.

"But we wanted to be number one and we had to beat England in England. It was a massive series, where every single session meant something.

"You had to win sessions to win the Tests and we managed to do that."

World class

Pressed on what made the current South Africa line-up so successful, Petersen pointed to a number of factors which, all combined, formed a formidable opponent for any side.

It is indeed their strength in all areas, he claimed, which makes them so consistently strong on the world stage - not to mention their good relationships away from the square.

"If you're a great cricket team everything must click for you," he said.

"Firstly, we've got great experience in our team, we've also got world class bowlers, world class batters and world class spinners as well, whether it's the attacking Imran Tahir or Robin Peterson, who is more of a holding spinner.

"Our combinations have been spot-on but above all our team culture has been brilliant; the way we operate, not just on the field but off the field as well, is important.

"We socialise together and we get on very well. There's a lot of talk about when Australia dominated some of their players didn't like each other but it's the opposite for us. We love each other, go out for drinks and talk about cricket - and that makes you feel like you're part of a family.

"We've got some wonderful bowlers who have produced the goods for us, as well. We ask so much of them but they keep on producing the goods day-in, day-out and I certainly back them and I think they're the world's best."

Check out the video above to see Alviro chat about his time with Somerset and how he thinks they'll get on for the remainder of the summer.