South Africa coach raises stakes in mind games
Thursday 19 November 2009
While England appear to trust that virtue will bring its own reward on their tour of South Africa, the hosts are having a high old time escalating the mischief. If the England coach, Andy Flower, hoped for a moment that his declared intention not to comment on the opposition would persuade his opponents into silence he was wrong. Quite wrong.
Barely had Flower adopted his stance on the moral high ground than his counterpart, Mickey Arthur, was sniping at the position from below. And, it must be said, scoring some direct hits.
Having already advised England that their use of the leg-spinner Adil Rashid was criminal and that they ought to have revised their batting order in the second Twenty20 international, Arthur embellished his candid verbal onslaught yesterday. He feigned shock that one of his players had eaten with England batsman, Jonathan Trott, who was born in South Africa.
"We upped the voltage a couple of days ago," he said. "There was 'hello Trotty' and I saw one of our fast bowlers having lunch with him a couple of days ago. That's all great and they can be good mates, but I thought the series started off a bit too friendly."
Arthur had neither regret nor contrition for expressing his candid views which, although puckish, are clearly designed to have an effect.
"I think it's part of the hurly-burly of international cricket, it's a hard game mentally, the players have to be able to handle that," he said. "We know who we want to target in the England side, we won't make that public but we have analysed them in depth."
Starting tomorrow, with the first one-day international and the real business under way, Arthur will begin to discover if his brand of cod psychology works.
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Harry Kane: Tottenham striker confident of rediscovering goal-scoring form after chat with Alan Shearer
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Bayern Munich 'training camp' to supply refugees with food, footballs and German lessons
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 200,000 back our campaign
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up