Arthur stays one step ahead
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur today put his charges back to work early, following their defeat against England at Port Elizabeth.
The hosts were bowled out for their lowest one-day international total on home soil on Sunday on the way to a seven-wicket setback which means they must win the final match at Kingsmead on Friday to salvage a drawn series.
They have therefore been required to reconvene in Durban a day earlier than initially planned - only to be greeted on their arrival by more of the bad weather forecast this week.
But Arthur was a step ahead of the elements and set up an obstacle course on the beach to give his team a work-out in the rain.
“I didn’t think we could justify two days off after a performance like that,” he said.
“The home truths have been spoken, and now it is a matter of building the team up to try to square the series.
“We got it perfectly right (in Cape Town) last Friday, played very intelligently - but perhaps not so intelligently on Sunday.
“But we’re certainly not going to panic. We think we’ve got the best players here and we’re confident we can bounce back.”
Kevin Pietersen has yet to hit his best form for England on his comeback from injury, and South Africa have their own middle-order man searching for runs in JP Duminy.
But Arthur believes the moderate form is temporary for both.
He confirms Pietersen is still seen as a “major threat” by his team - and has no concerns either about Duminy’s perceived weakness against the short ball.
“JP’s very young, and we see a huge future with him,” he said.
“Australia tried it as well when they came back to South Africa (earlier this year), and he overcame that and played well.
“I don’t think it’s the short ball that generally troubles him - I think it’s scoring off it.
“He’ll be fine. He just needs one knock - and he’ll be away. He’s genuine quality.”
An MRI scan on fast bowler Dale Steyn’s hamstring strain has revealed nothing serious, but Arthur reports he will not be risked on Friday if there is any chance of that affecting his chances of being fit for the start of the Test series this month.
Arthur also reported that all-rounder Jacques Kallis, ruled out of the ongoing series with a broken rib, has had an injection and is only “50/50” to be fit in time for the first Test but will definitely be “100%” for the three matches which follow.