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Mickey Arthur - Walks the talk

A dossier on preparation was sensationalised by Indian media, felt Mickey Arthur

Sunday, September 27, 2021
‘Do not sensationalise stories’

The standard of cricket played in the Champions Trophy so far has been good without being exceptional but I’m certain it’s just a matter of time before the tournament catches fire with some brilliant individual performances or a classic contest or two.

Sadly, some attention was drawn away from the cricket by a ridiculous ‘scandal’ involving the Indian team and its coach, Gary Kirsten, who I have known for a very long time.

Sex and the effect it has on sporting performance is a serious subject and has been the subject of much debate and scientific research for decades. Personally, I don’t have a view because I’m not qualified. As long as players get enough sleep and are well rested then I’m happy. But I’m obviously interested in any research, which might give my team an edge with their preparation.

We have a qualified medical team and I let them get on with their jobs and I know that Gary does likewise which is why Paddy Upton, who deals with physical conditioning, wrote the document for the players. I understand it is eight months old and formed a tiny part of a comprehensive dossier on physical preparation.

I have always had a very good relationship with the media but I think I would have found it extremely hard not to be angry if I was in Gary’s position. The cheap, tabloid journalists who twist innocent stories to create sensation obviously have no idea of the effect they have on peoples’ lives.

Back to the game of cricket. Having a major tournament this early in the South African season has obviously caused a few problems for the groundsmen at the Wanderers and SuperSport Park with the result that we have pitches which are opposite extremes to play on. The Wanderers is almost too bouncy and seamer-friendly while SuperSport Park is far too dry and resembles a spin-friendly surface from the subcontinent!

Fortunately, we have two quality spinners in Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe but our traditional strength has always been fast bowling and I don’t mind admitting that we would rather be playing our group matches at the Wanderers and if we manage to make the semi finals and face India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan, then there certainly won’t be any home ground advantage for us if we play at SuperSport Park and conditions remain as they have been so far.

Just about every game from here on is a knockout fixture for one of the teams, if not both, so tensions will run higher and higher with each day. I liked the format from the first day it was announced – and nothing has changed my mind.