South Africa look to the next generation

The fourth ODI against England at Lord's on Sunday represents not only another opportunity for South Africa to reverse their short-term fortunes, but also to reinvent their one-day team as they look ahead to the 2011 World Cup.

That is the candid view of their coach, Mickey Arthur, responding to South Africa's 126-run drubbing in the third ODI at The Oval on Friday. Handicapped by the poor form of key players, and the absence of their captain, Graeme Smith, Arthur said it was time the younger generation staked a claim for their own futures, and that of their team.

"I've got a dressing room that is a little bit down in confidence. But we'll sit down and hammer home the basics again," Arthur said. "It's up to the youngsters in the next two games to stick their hands up and stake a claim. It's up to us to bring those [young] guys forward as quickly as we possibly can and the starting point for me is Lord's.

"That could be the starting point of a new generation for the South African one-day side. That's how we've got to look at it, and how I'm trying to package it."

There are two games to play in the five-match series, and if England clean up 5-0, they will climb to second in the ICC rankings. Few gave Kevin Pietersen's side much chance of consistently challenging South Africa, let alone dominating them with such crushing performances, and Arthur admitted his frustration in watching England sweep the tourists aside so convincingly.

"I've been very disappointed by how England have outplayed us in all three disciplines, how we haven't applied the basics enough," Arthur said. "That's my major worry, and that is up to us as a coaching staff to get right. I see that as a major challenge for my management team now: if we can see this as a challenge and get the team moving to where we want it. I am really looking forward to the next couple of months.

"But this really is a time for us to start moving out of an era - when we were very, very good - forward to the World Cup in 2011. Our attack is very inexperienced in terms of one-day cricket, and in some key batting areas we've got a lot of younger players. We need to get them out there and expose them. If I have to take a positive out of this, it's asked us all where we want to go as a one-day unit.

"I really think it is time for us to re-evaluate where we want to go, re-evaluate our personnel and start a new era for South Africa in terms of one-day cricket and getting ready for the World Cup in 2011."