Inexperienced middle-order cost SA dearly: Arthur

Melbourne: South Africa`s former coach Mickey Arthur has blamed an inexperienced middle-order`s failure to adapt to sub-continental conditions for the Proteas` early exit from the ongoing cricket World Cup.

Arthur was critical of team selection saying that South Africa`s campaign was fundamentally flawed by a suspect middle order.

The 42-year-old former coach added that the decision to choose JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis and Johan Botha in the middle had cost Proteas, who were knocked out in the quarterfinals.

"People underestimate how difficult it is (in the middle order in the sub-continent)," Arthur said.

"Five, six and seven are your crucial, crucial batting positions in one day games, especially on the subcontinent, because you`re invariably starting against a soft ball and invariably starting against spin.

"In the engine room at five, six and seven we had JP Duminy who`s still a young, maturing player, Faf du Plessis in his first year and Johan Botha who is a bowler first and then a batter, and I think that cost us at the end of the day," said Arthur.

Arthur, who resigned as South Africa`s coach during the early part of 2010, said that in the aftermath of yet another ouster from an ICC event it will now be up to a new leadership to get rid of the monkey that has gained weight over the years.

Captain Graeme Smith and coach Corrie van Zyl both gave up their posts after the Cup.

"Until South Africa win an ICC event it`s always going to be there. The monkey`s almost become a gorilla now and until we win an ICC event it`s always going to be there I`m afraid.

"They`ve just got to get out there and do it. We`ve always been the most prepared and I remember in my five years, we could never, ever nail it right at the end, and that to me was one of my regrets," Arthur expressed.

"We got to No 1 in the world in both forms of the game over a period of time because we played the most consistent cricket, but there always seemed to be something missing when it became a knockout game, and I just can`t put my finger on it," he added.

PTI

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