Australia coach on what makes Michael Clarke a special leader; refuses to talk down India's ability
Mickey Arthur and Graeme Smith enjoyed plenty of success as coach and captain. Under their leadership, South Africa became the first side to win a Test series in Australia in 15 years. They also led the South Africans to a maiden Test series win in England since readmission to cricket. They beat India inside three days at Ahmedabad in April 2008. They formed a very triumphant duo.
Australia coach Mickey Arthur with Michael Clarke during a training session at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 30, 2011 Pic/Getty Images
Arthur is now hoping to accomplish similar feats with Michael Clarke. He felt that Clarke had the required qualities to go the distance as a leader. "First and foremost, he's a fantastic leader. He's got an aura inside the dressing room, and I think all good leaders have that aura. Clarke certainly has that. He's structured, he's organised, and I think he's dynamic in his captaincy," Arthur said.
Arthur paid tribute to Clarke's unbeaten knock of 329 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). "When Clarke's hitting the ball late and hitting the ball under his eyes, he's playing exceptionally well. I think there were so many graphics of him during this innings (at SCG), hitting the ball under his eyes and hitting the ball late, which was fantastic. The minute he feels out in front of his front pad that's when he gets in trouble. He's not doing that now, he looks the complete package. He's a complete captaincy package as well -- truly inspirational within the dressing room," he said.
As coach, Arthur has enjoyed great success against India. In 2006-07, his South African side beat India 2-1 at home. They enjoyed reasonable success in India. Has he figured out the Indian batsmen? "We can have the best laid plans out, but you need the personnel to execute that. Yes, we brought some planning to the team, but the players have been outstanding. The players deserve all the credit because they're the ones who've gone out there and executed. Without that execution we'd have nothing and they've done exactly as the planning's been and they've gone really well," he said.
"No, I'd never say that (India are a team of great individuals, but not a collective unit). You look at the team, they're the current World Cup holders and a team that got to No 1 in the world (in Test cricket). I would never, ever say they're a team of individuals. There's certainly a lot of really good individual players, but over the last couple of years they've certainly played as a team because they've had some huge success as a side," he added. The third Australia-India Test at Perth gets underway on January 13.