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Proteas coach Arthur hits back at critics

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 01:22 IST
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South African coach Mickey Arthur has slammed former cricketers who have called for "heads to roll" following the team's defeat to India in the first Test.

Former skipper Keppler Wessels and spinner Pat Symcox had criticised the team management for underestimating the Indians and being arrogant.

But Arthur denies that his players had taken the visitors for granted in the Johannesburg game.

"We played as poorly as we could have played, while India played very well. But we certainly didn't take the Indians for granted and I can assure you we're going to get better," Arthur was quoted as saying in 'Natal Mercury' on Thursday.

"Despite all the precautions, things like that can happen very easily and maybe some guys simply expected to rock up and roll them over," he said.

Arthur admitted though that Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs should have been asked to play in local provincial matches before the first Test. 

"Obviously, in hindsight we can now say that perhaps he (Smith) should have played. But he (Smith) was under huge pressure after the ODI series and we opted to give him some time out."

Arthur also said they had prepared well for the Test but that they could not make the necessary adjustments needed while switching to the longer version of the game.

"Our batters weren't patient enough, and some of our bowlers bowled too short and wide. But these were things we talked about a lot in the build-up. Unfortunately, the guys just didn't execute.

"We're are still looking for the right combinations at Test level, and we're also looking to integrate our young players into the body of the team. In many ways we're still a fledgling outfit, and things don't come right overnight."  

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