Arthur tips his hat to England
South Africa coach Mickey Arthur paid tribute to the impact of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff following England’s comprehensive NatWest Series triumph.
Pietersen’s captaincy and Flintoff’s return to the middle order were key to the hosts’ 4-0 series victory, with a washed-out encounter at the SWALEC Stadium today sparing South Africa the distinct possibility of suffering a whitewash.
While South Africa will return home having achieved their ultimate goal of winning the Test series, their one-day form has been woeful.
Arthur, though, admitted the performances of Pietersen and Flintoff prevented his side from playing to their potential.
"He has got results and he seems to have the whole dressing room behind him," Arthur said of Pietersen, who has won all five of his completed matches since being appointed skipper.
"He's brought in a bit of an aggressive style, which has been fantastic. You have to say he has made an impact."
Pietersen's England is a team Arthur admires, particularly the pace and potency of change bowlers Flintoff and Steve Harmison.
"With their key players back fit – Flintoff, that multi-skilled player, back – they seem to have a brand that is working for them," he said.
"The one thing we did really well when we were at our peak was the ability to take wickets after the powerplay. They certainly have that ability now, with Flintoff and Harmison.
"That is a huge bonus, because the game gets away from you in the middle overs if you don't have the ability to take wickets.
"They certainly have one of the best one-day bowling attacks around in the world."