SA in Australia

'We're going to be the hunted'

2009-02-01 13:00
Winning coach Mickey Arthur (Gallo Images)
Perth - South Africa’s cricket team will be presented with a fresh batch of challenges after scaling new heights against Australia.

That was the warning from Proteas coach Mickey Arthur after his side topped the world one-day rankings in the wake of their 4-1 series rout of Australia Down Under.

“It’s going to be very difficult for everybody – management and players – to build on this. In the past we were always chasing success, but now we’re going to be the hunted. We’ll have to adapt and learn to deal with it,” said Arthur.

“The first big test is in less than a month’s time when we will approach the Test series at home as favourites. It will be interesting to see how we carry that tag.

“I have no doubt the Aussies will be out for revenge and will throw the kitchen sink at us. They are a very proud sporting nation and won’t take their defeats lightly. We have to steal ourselves for a major onslaught.”

Arthur believes the Proteas were helped by the fact that they are a tightly-knit unit.

“It’s not only the players that contributed. The team management, selectors and other people that were involved in some way, also had a huge role.”

“From a selection point of view there was a consistency that created confidence.

Everybody knows where they fit in. We speak openly to players and don’t leave them wondering where they stand.

“Each guy knows what is expected of him and is aware of his place in the hierarchy.”

Arthur is having sleepless nights over how to fit in seven batsmen in the top six positions for the first test against the Aussies. It starts on 26 February at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Arthur hopes Australia pick Andrew Symonds for the tour.

“I think he’s a fantastic player and with him in the side they are so much more of a force. I want to see us go toe to toe with Australia’s best and that is why I’m really disappointed that Stuart Clark had to withdraw from the tour,” said Arthur.

“He was their best bowler on their previous tour of South Africa and also the player of the series. He built pressure by not conceding runs. He was worth his weight in gold as a workhorse.”

Meanwhile, Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting said it’s too early to panic and make major changes to his side.

“I don’t believe it’s a case of dark days ahead of Australian cricket,” said Ponting.

“I will tell the selectors in no uncertain terms that they should not only look at youth.

We have to pick the best players. To only adopt a youth policy will be suicidal.

“I don’t believe South Africa’s series win of 4-1 will give them the momentum when we go there. We’re starting with a test series and you can just as well say that we’ll have the momentum because we won the last test.”



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