Wednesday 5 March 2008 

Arthur: Rankings Are Less Important Than Exposure

South African coach Mickey Arthur has put forward his view that whilst he would like his team to return to the top of the world rankings, but that he felt exposing young players ahead of vital tours was more important.

Speaking ahead of the opening One Day International against Bangladesh, he said, "It is nice to be tied number one and even nicer to be the top ranked side.

"We all take a lot pride in that, but having said that (the ranking) is not the be all and end all.

"We should not just look at that. We have to give our youngsters an opportunity with the tour of England, Champions Trophy and the tour of Australia coming up this year."

South Africa are jointly at the head of the world rankings after world champions Australia suffered three consecutive losses in the Commonwealth Bank series.

South Africa have a chance to improve their ranking as they take on Bangladesh, the weakest Test-playing nation in a three-match series which begins in Chittagong on March 9th.

However, they will only move into a clear lead if they win 3-0 and will drop below Australia if they lose one match.

South Africa are firm favourites to win, but in the last ODI between the two sides in the 2007 World Cup, Bangladesh pulled off an unexpected 67-run win.