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Mickey Arthur

'ODIs should be 40 overs a side'

The South Africa coach talks about his side's big-match record, beating Australia, AB's captaincy chances, Test cricket at night and a fine song about himself

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Mickey Arthur celebrates South Africa's win from the sidelines, India v South Africa, 2nd Test, Ahmedabad, 3rd day, April 5, 2008
Mickey Arthur: not looking to coach in England at the moment © Getty Images
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Why is it that though South Africa are hard to beat in bilateral series, they never perform well on the big stage - the World Cup, the Champions Trophy etc? asked Ahmed Ratra from Pakistan
That is a good question and something that we are looking seriously at. Over a period of time the team that is more consistent comes through. We pride ourselves on our consistency, and what we need to do now is to win an ICC event. That is a realistic goal and something that we are going to put right in the future.

Why is the ICC trying to change the way Test cricket is being played, by introducing day-night matches What's your take on this? Is it justified? asked Sourabh Bharadwaj from India
I have to be honest. I am not for night Test cricket. Test cricket is healthy enough around the world without it being played at night. There are so many things that can go wrong at night, such as a change in the conditions, what kind of ball do you use, and is the ball going to be good enough to last 80 overs.

I would like to know what you guys did as a team to celebrate beating the Aussies in Australia asked Jerome from South Africa
We are a team that likes celebrating by ourselves. We spent a lot of time in the dressing room, where we chatted and had some festivities. After that the guys were up to their own devices. But we spent a long time in the dressing room. That is how we like to do it and that is the way we will keep it.

The South African team has always been privileged to have quality allrounders, yet talents like Justin Kemp and Lance Klusener were overlooked, which resulted in them either retiring or joining the rebel league. Are there any justifications for their omission? asked Zoheb Haider from India
Those guys had had their time. They had had plenty of opportunities and they were replaced by some younger guys coming through. That is inevitable in the cycle of things. They had their time and the timing was right to bring in younger players when they were left out.

What does this South Africa outfit do different than previous ones? asked Allnash from Australia
It is hard to comment because I was not involved in the previous teams, but what I do know is that this team is pretty goal-oriented. We set realistic goals and work for these goals all the time. The team is very well conditioned and I hope that the environment we have created is conducive for success.

If you were the coach of New Zealand, what would be your approach and what would you change? It's obvious there is tons of talent there but it's just not working. Lack of application? Not mentally tough enough? asked Chris Mansfield from the Netherlands
I think New Zealand are a good side. They are blessed with a good balance in their bowling department. Their challenge is to get batters. They are going to struggle to get runs and their challenge is to develop young batters to put those runs on the board to give their very good bowling attack the opportunity to perform.

Who's the best emerging player in the South Africa set-up currently? asked Nathiq from Saudi Arabia
JP Duminy is certainly right up there, but it is difficult to call any established international cricketer an emerging player.

Do you think the large number of international cricketing events being played there will make the South African public feel saturated soon? asked Anuj Gupta from India
South Africa is a country that prides itself on international sporting competitions. South Africans love their sport, and at the end of the day the turnouts are going to be very good. If ticket prices are realistic we will still pack the stadia here because the public here love big sporting occasions

Will Wayne Parnell end up among the leading wicket-takers for South Africa in the Champions Trophy or do you bet on someone else? If so, who? asked Ragavsimhan from India
He could be. Wayne Parnell has come on superbly, and if the ball swings, he has got a good chance. I somehow think that during the Champions Trophy it is going to be the spinners who come out on top.

 
 
"I am not for night Test cricket. Test cricket is healthy enough around the world without it being played at night. There are so many things that can go wrong at night"
 

Would you really want to coach England, knowing that you have established yourself as one of the best coaches and have, together with Graeme Smith, laid the platform for the South African team to become a dominant force in world cricket? asked Johannes Claassen from South Africa
At the moment I am committed to South Africa until 2012 and I am entirely happy with that. I wouldn't want to leave something that I have built up and the relationship I have built with Graeme Smith. I wouldn't want to leave that now and not reap all the rewards of our hard work. Our relationship is excellent, and also, I have always wanted to be involved in the South African set-up. However, down the line some time you never know.

Who would be your top three South African batsmen in Tests, ODIs, and Twenty20? asked Sriniketh from the USA
It is very difficult to single out individuals. Last year we had four batsmen making more than 1000 runs in Tests, and Ashwell Prince could have done it as well but for injury. AB de Villiers has certainly made enormous strides and stands up there with the very best. In the long run he is going to be a very special player.

What is your opinion on splitting the 50-over one-day game into four 25-over innings? asked Paresh from the USA
I don't like that. I am of the opinion that international one-day cricket should be played to 40 overs per side with the same number of Powerplay overs as we have at the moment. But I must stress that I am for all three formats. I believe international cricket can sustain all three formats.

There's talk of AB de Villiers taking over the captaincy in the future from Graeme Smith just because he may be the only player guaranteed a place in the team for all three versions. Surely Hashim Amla is the obvious choice as next South Africa captain? He's an excellent tactician, and could easily nail down a place in the Test team and in the 50-over side? asked Lawrence from South Africa
At this stage you are talking about two young players who are still finding their way in the international game. It would be wrong of me to burden them with thoughts of captaincy right at the moment. You must remember that Graeme Smith is still only 28 and is going to be around for a long period of time. There is no rush to look for a successor.

Do you get the "Oh Mickey you're so fine" thing [from the song] much? asked Ben from New Zealand
Now and again, especially when we play in Australia.

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