Arthur thankful for English experience

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes losing a one-day series in England last year has been the making of his side as a limited overs unit.

Updated: June 11, 2009 07:23 IST
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South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes losing a one-day series in England last year has been the making of his side as a limited overs unit.

Now he is looking forward to the Proteas showing England what they have learned when they take on the hosts in their opening match of the Super Eights at the World Twenty20 at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

The Proteas, who've won both of their matches at the tournament so far under captain Graeme Smith, went down 4-0 in a series of 50 overs per side fixtures in England in August and September.

It led to a radical re-think and Arthur for one was grateful, having seen his side since win one-day series, home and away, against Australia.

"I think that one-day series we had here (in England) after winning the Test series was a blessing in disguise for us," Arthur said.

"It certainly forced myself and Graeme to sit back and do a lot of reflection, deciding on which way we wanted to go, what was going to be our brand going forward to the World Cup in 2011, who were the players we were going to look at and we did. We sat down and we thought long and hard about it.

"With the team we had in England, we didn't have the ability to take pace off the ball. We realised we needed to grow our spin bowling department, we realised we needed to have batters who could bowl spin coupled with out and out pace bowlers.

He added: "You need guys who can bowl genuinely quick and take wickets and then you need the guys who can take the pace off the ball.

"I think we've got the balance right now. We've got seven definite bowling options, three of which are spin bowling options - I include JP Duminy in that because I think he's that good.

"And we've got three guys who can bowl at over 140kph (Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell and Jacques Kallis).

"We also bat down to 10 - Wayne Parnell was batting at six for Kent a month back - and I still think as a group we are probably the best fielding side in the world."

Nevertheless Arthur remains wary of England, who got the tournament off to a dramatic start with a shock four-wicket loss to the Netherlands before recovering to beat Pakistan convincingly.

"I thought England played really well (against Pakistan). They shrugged off their disappointment from the other night and they came back firing."

South Africa's record in major one-day tournaments has been blighted by some high profile self-inflicted wounds.

They went out on a tie after a last ball run out in their 1999 World Cup semi-final with eventual champions Australia and, as hosts four years later, a failure to correctly interpret the Duckworth/Lewis rule for rain-affected matches led to an early exit at the hands of Sri Lanka.

"We said a year ago there were three things we really wanted to do as a South African unit - to win a Test series in England, to win a Test series in Australia and to win an ICC trophy event," Arthur said.

"We've flattered to deceive in ICC events. We've ticked two of the three boxes and we've got three opportunities until 2011 to put the other one right so here's hoping."

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