Ian Botham backs England to top Test rankings after South Africa win
'This young side can go all the way to the top'
Last Updated: 17/01/16 12:57pm
Sir Ian Botham expects England to march towards the top of the Test rankings after securing a series win in South Africa.
England's triumph has seen South Africa leapfrogged at the summit by India - but Botham says England can soon assume that mantle, provided they bolster their spin-bowling ranks.
"This side is starting to fulfil their potential and I think they are a young side who can go all the way to world No 1 as quickly as possible and be there for a while," said the Sky Cricket expert.
"This side is starting to fulfil their potential and I think they are a young side who can go all the way to world No 1 as quickly as possible and be there for a while."
Sir Ian Botham
"They are a good unit - they work well, have good management and are encouraged to express themselves and this springboard is just what they wanted to believe they can win away.
"England, though, will have to think about what they are going to take to India as India will try to nullify the England attack and prepare turning pitches, so they need to find a couple of spinners."
Ben Stokes has sparkled in England's series victory, clubbing 258 in the second Test in Cape Town and a vital 58 from 54 balls in the third Test in Johannesburg, which the tourists won by seven wickets.
The Durham all-rounder has also picked up seven wickets across the three games thus far, including five at Wanderers as England moved 2-0 up in the four-match series with one game to play.
"Stokes will wake up in the morning with his chest out and be proud that he is the first guy the opposition will worry about," said Botham. "He scares the opposition, he intimidates the opposition."
On South Africa, the former England star added: "They are in a rebuilding period after losing Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher.
"They have still got some quality players - Kagiso Rabada looks very promising with the ball and bats a bit, while Temba Bavuma is a good fielder and batsman.
"These guys can all go on and do things but they need to find specialists and be patient."