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Mickey Arthur - Walks the talk

Having humiliated Aussies, South Africa's coach feels Ponting's honeymoon period is over



Thursday, February 05, 2022
Australia will never dominate again


Naturally the last few days since our return from Australia have provided a fantastic opportunity to reflect on our two months in Australia and what we managed to achieve there by winning both the Test and ODI series. However, while the majority of the national players can, and will justifiably 'switch off' and recharge their physical and emotional batteries, I have found it virtually impossible to stop work. We are only half way through the job. Australia arrive in less than two weeks time and we need to do it all over again.

If South Africa can win in Australia then there is little doubt that Australia can win here - especially if we drop our guard or take anything for granted. Physical and mental planning played a huge role in upsetting the Aussies on home soil and, once again, we need to be prepared for every eventuality, particularly injuries. At the moment, however, we have the opposite problem. I still don't know how we are going to fit J-P Duminy into the XI when Ashwell Prince is fit!

I have also been acutely aware that many Indians feel a little aggrieved that we were the first team to win in Australia for 17 years and not India a year earlier! That series will, unfortunately, be remembered for controversy and unhappiness rather than some fantastic cricket that was played - and yes, India finished the stronger of the two teams after a poor start.

Perhaps there is a lesson in the way we both started our tours.

India arrived four days before the first Test and lost. We arrived 10 days before the first Test and won. In many instances it is impossible to influence the itinerary - there just aren't enough days in the year, especially in the case of the Indian team! - but you rarely have too much preparation time.

Australia have now been well and truly caught by South Africa and India and England could easily join the top group this English summer.

I'm certain the Ashes will be closely contested and, with Flintoff fit, Pietersen motivated and Harmison in for, you'd be tempted to make the home team slight favourites - at this stage!

Personally, I don't believe Australia will ever pull away from the rest of the cricket playing world and establish such dominance again.

They revolutionised the way cricketers trained and were coached in the early 1990s and then enjoyed the unprecedented arrival of three or four 'once in a generation' players - at the same time! But the game has changed forever now and, with three different formats and an international schedule packed to bursting point, I can't see any country being as dominant as Australia were. Although that should not, and will not prevent any of us from striving to achieve world domination!

It is impossible to differentiate between the pleasure a manager experiences when a seasoned pro lives up to his reputation with a match-winning performance and when a novice, even a debutant, lives up to his promise. Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, for example, all produced stunning performances at critical times - yet J-P Duminy was the revelation of the tour.

No other country will ever have the cricket playing resources of India, but it was deeply satisfying and exciting for the future to see confirmation that South Africa, at the moment, are far more than just a very good XI. We have strength in depth in most areas.


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