Long-term planning pays off for South Africa, says Arthur

SA coach Mickey Arthur believes his team's impressive start to the World Twenty20, where they already have one foot in the semis, is due to planning.

updated: June 13, 2009 09:30 IST
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South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes his team's impressive start to the World Twenty20, where they already have one foot in the semi-finals, is due to planning, not luck.

The Proteas beat Scotland and New Zealand in the first round before cruising impressively past England by seven wickets in their Super Eights opener to take pole position in a pool which also includes champions India and West Indies.

"We have been planning for this for a year now, it has not just happened," said Arthur.

"It has been a strategy of ours when we looked at what was happening with the domestic Twenty20 in England knowing full well we would be over here playing this time. We kept an eye on it all."

South Africa have also shone by playing two spinners, Roelof van der Merwe and Johan Botha.

"We knew spinners were going to be key, we went that route against Australia, believing that in Twenty20 cricket pace off the ball is vital, so we have moulded an attack which gives us some variation."

South Africa, who have never won a one-day tournament, have already been tipped as likely winners of the World Twenty20 when the final takes place at Lord's on June 21.

"The mood is fantastic and it is looking good. However, we are realistic enough to know that it is about taking it one game at a time," Arthur told The Press Association.

"We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We know we have to play to the best of our ability for the next four games if we are to have any hope of winning this trophy.

"The favourites tag does sit quite nicely because it shows what you have been doing is good and how we have been playing is right, but ultimately it counts for nothing.

"I honestly do not think there is a favourite. Things happen so quickly and it takes just one individual moment of brilliance to change a game.

"Some teams could be the form sides going into the games, but that counts for nothing on the day.

"You have still got to go and play to the standards you have set yourselves day in and day out - that is something we have prided ourselves on doing for a while now."

Arthur, whose team face West Indies at The Oval today, added, "Any team is still a threat and you write off anyone at your own peril.

"We know complacency is something which has tripped sides up, so we certainly won't be doing that and know there will be a lot of other teams plotting our downfall." "That will give us the motivation to try to stay one step ahead."

"We are just controlling what we can, which is the brand of cricket we want to play."

"We can't do any more than that, and hopefully that will stand us in good stead going down the line."