Will Mickey survive 2010?

2010-01-05 15:02
Sport24 columnist Arthur Turner (File)
Arthur Turner

Much has been written about the downward spiral of the Proteas in 2009 but what is now important is that Mickey Arthur and Graeme Smith turn around the team’s performances and results. If they cant it is difficult seeing them surviving 2010 as coach and captain respectively.

They face another difficult year of international cricket starting with a small matter of saving the Test series against England. They then set off to India for a two-Test series and three ODI matches against the top ranked Test team in their own backyard.

After this the ICC World Twenty20 takes place in the Caribbean followed by a tour of the West Indies. Just the thought of another ICC event will send shivers down their spines. Also, the West Indies look like a team showing some sort of resurgence as they did win the recent Test series against England in the Caribbean.

The Proteas then have to play Pakistan somewhere in the world in a Test and ODI series with India touring South Africa at the end of the year. The only "easy" opposition they will face in 2010 will be Zimbabwe.

This is a difficult assignment with most series’ being played away from home. The Proteas remain a good side, but they need to lift the intensity of their performances and get back to winning ways. Arthur and Smith have the sole responsibility of this happening.

There has been a lot of speculation about changing the coach and captain, but it is important not to panic and make wholesale changes at this stage. Both men have delivered in the past with victories in Australia and England. Also, their record in Test and ODI series’ during their tenure has been good.

The area they have both failed badly in is the ICC global events. This remains an important aspect for South African cricket for the supporters and the profile of the Proteas both locally and internationally. We all know it needs to be fixed.
The performances of the bowlers is currently the major problem in the team. While the captain and coach are taking all the flack, and rightfully so, the bowling coach seems to have escaped any sort of criticism. Vincent Barnes has been with the team since 2003 and has been seen as the man who engineered Makhaya Ntini’s success in the past, but he must be held accountable for the state of the current attack. His performances and future must be assessed along with the other two.

I wrote in a previous column that I felt that the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean was a date of destiny for both Arthur and Smith and add Barnes to that list as well. This will give them enough opportunity to restore the Proteas to the force they were a year ago under their leadership and to set the record straight at ICC events.

Failure to do this will have to result in change in the interests of South African cricket and for the World Cup in India in 2011.
Arthur is a former cricket administrator and current player agent.

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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