Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur is enjoying a challenging battle with former Griqualand West teammate and current South African coach Ottis Gibson during the ongoing Test series.
Arthur and Gibson’s playing careers overlapped. The former played first-class cricket from 1986 to 2001 – and the latter 1990 to 2007. In the late 1990s and early 2000s they played alongside each other in the SuperSport Series. Arthur also represented the Free State – and Gibson Border.
‘Myself and Ottis were teammates at Griqualand West and we played 13 domestic matches together. As the opposing head coaches, there is plenty of friendly fire between us,’ Arthur told Sport24.
‘We have already shared a meal and have sat down and caught up. I am so happy to see Ottis coaching South Africa and doing so well. He is a fantastic coach and a great person, so to see what he is doing with South Africa, and I watch it closely, is great.
‘South Africa seems to be producing some very good players, and the Proteas team is very well led by Faf du Plessis. South African cricket looks fairly healthy to me.
‘I don’t know what it’s like at the core, because I am no longer in the system, but from the outside it looks healthy. South Africa [are going] pretty well with their cricket at the moment. The functioning of their team is not for me to worry about, but from the outside they look like pretty well established as a team.’
The Proteas recently slipped from third position to fourth in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for Test teams. India, England and New Zealand are first, second and third respectively.
‘I think South Africa’s ranking of third in the Test arena is probably a fair assessment at the moment. In order to attain the number one spot, you have to win consistently outside of your own country. I think that is the key to getting to number one and claiming the Test Championship mace,’ added Arthur, who coached South Africa and Australia before joining Pakistan.
South Africa boast an early lead in the three-match series against Pakistan, after a six-wicket victory in the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion. The second Test will get under way at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday. The Wanderers in Johannesburg will host the third.