The Proteas are on the brink of a series win in India and while there is still plenty of cricket to be played on the tour there is already thought being given to events later on in the year.
After a gruelling 72-day journey to India, that has already resulted in T20 success, the Proteas will return home without the luxury of a December holiday. Instead they’ll tackle and England Test side brimming with confidence after claiming the Ashes earlier this year.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think England are a young side who are growing and maturing very quickly. I expect them to give South Africa a real run for their money over here,” Sir Ian Botham said yesterday.
The former England international, regarded as one of the legends of international cricket, was in Johannesburg to launch another of his famed walks for charity.
To mark the 30th anniversary of his first walk between John O Groats and Lands End in 1985, Botham will walk between Llandudno in the Cape and Pretoria with the first leg of his journey beginning on December 10 with the sole purpose of raising money for a number of charitable causes.
“If you want to be the best side in the world you can’t just win at home. You’ve got to do it abroad and this is going to be the acid test for England,” Botham said of the fixtures which await the Three Lions.
“I’m looking forward to the series and I think that the South African public might be a little surprised at the progress this team has made. I expect them to do well,” he said of the team currently involved in a Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s well overdue. The last time these two sides met was years ago and that’s ridiculous. I think everybody, not just in England or South Africa, but the cricketing world will be looking forward to it,” he added.
The tour proper begins with the Boxing Day Test in Durban on December 26.
“We’ve got Pakistan now in the UAE, we get that series out of the way and there’s a pretty short gap and then we’re over here. I’m looking forward to the series and I think that the South African public might be a little surprised at the progress this team has made.
“I expect them to do well,” Botham said.