South African news September 7, 2009

Coaching England is a temptation - Arthur

Cricinfo staff

South Africa coach Mickey Arthur has said he would welcome a stint with England before quitting international cricket. Arthur, 41, took up his current job in May 2005, replacing Ray Jennings, and his contract expires in April 2012.

He was heavily linked with the England job before Andy Flower took over in April, and now says he was looking forward other challenges in England as well. "The England job is certainly something I would like to look at," Arthur told BBC Sport. "I think Andy Flower will be there for a long time but England's a temptation for my family and I to explore."

"If not with the England team, then perhaps one of the counties because I used to follow country cricket extensively when I was growing up. There's such history and culture in England with cricket and that really fascinates me."

South Africa, currently No. 1 in both Tests and ODIs, will be enjoying home support in the Champions Trophy, beginning September 22, before they host England for four Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s during the winter. And Arthur believes England's Ashes victory will set up an exciting series.

"For Flower and Andrew Strauss to have won the Ashes in their first series as a combination is unbelievable and will give them great confidence," he said. "I actually thought Australia would win 2-1 because they had so much quality in the batting department but England played well and were full value for their triumph."

"We respect England highly and realise it's going to be a tip-top series where we must maintain our standards throughout if we are to be successful."

Arthur said the focus would be on clinging to the top spots. "It's something we wanted to do and set out to achieve - and to have got there is obviously very rewarding," he added. "We realise now that the easy part was getting there, so our next challenge is maintaining our consistency over the last two years so that we can stay there for a long time.

"We have a really good one-day side with probably the best fielding unit in world cricket. I don't think this side has reached its full potential yet, which is very exciting. We're just starting to tap into the potential so the next couple of years are going to be very bright and rewarding - but we must work hard and do things right."