South Africa coach Gary Kirsten has targeted 2013 as a year in which the Proteas must improve their One-Day International record.
Since taking charge in 2011, South Africa have won nine out of the 15 games they have played and for Kirsten, a win record of 60 percent is not enough.
"We would like to perform at a higher level than we have," Kirsten said. "We have been okay, but we haven’t been outstanding yet and we know that we are capable of being a unit that can perform at one-day level.
"We have a great opportunity this year because we have potentially 23 ODI matches, so there will be a lot more emphasis on ODI cricket which I think everyone is excited about."
bet365 make South Africa 1/9 favourites to win the series against New Zealand, who are available at 11/2.
With half an eye on the Champions Trophy in June and the World Cup in 2015 in the back of his mind, Kirsten is keen to introduce new players into the ODI squad as early as possible, but he refused to be drawn on whether all four uncapped players in the squad - Quinton de Kock, Aaron Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien and Rory Kleinveldt - would feature in this series.
"Obviously it is important for us to win the series but we will be rotating our bowling line-up so that will provide opportunities. We would also like to explore new talent as much as possible and I think this format of the game allows that, as does the T20 format.
"It's important for us as we prepare for World Cups in the future and an important tournament in June that we have a good understanding of who our key players are in certain situations," he added.
"The next eight games for us; five against Pakistan and three against New Zealand play an important role in giving us a better indication of that."
The first ODI is in Paarl on Saturday (19th January) before the remaining matches are played in Kimberley and Potchefstroom on 22nd and 25th January.
© Cricket World 2013
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