Aussies no longer invincible, says Mike Procter

By Fakir Hassen, IANS,

Johannesburg : Former South African all-rounder Mike Procter feels that Australia’s dominance in world cricket for over a decade is on the decline.

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Procter was appointed head of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) selection committee Friday and his first big task will be selecting the team for the crucial tour to Australia in December-January.

The 62-year-old, who was the Match Referee in the controversial Sydney Test between India and Australia earlier this year, said that India’s record 320-run win over Australia in Mohali Test has shown the way to other teams.

“(The Australians) are still a very good team. But other countries can now see that they can be beaten. That is going to make our series much more interesting, because we will go (to Australia) with the belief that we can return as victors,” Procter was quoted as saying by the Afrikaans daily Beeld.

Procter said that it was important for South Africa to have a stable one-day squad.

“In Test cricket we are established and have a very solid team, but the emphasis will now fall on getting our one-day cricket right,” he said.

Procter’s views were reiterated by national coach Mickey Arthur, whose contract has been extended till the 2011 World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, (but) I want to become the first South African coach to bring home a World Cup,” said Arthur.

The appointments of Procter and Arthur’s renewed contract overshadowed the election of Mtutuzeli Nyoka as the new CSA President after the controversial resignation of Norman Arendse.

Amid reported dissatisfaction in some provincial cricket unions about this controversy, there was concern about unity in the game; something that Nyoka said would be addressed as a priority.

“It would be naive to believe that there is no tension in the executive committee (of CSA). The fact that we could actually have elections and that an executive which can move forward has now been selected, shows that there has been progress,” Nyoka said.

“I want to show those who still have doubt about the road ahead that I care for them. Cricket is bigger than all of us and I see myself as a conductor who must steer things in the right direction,” he said.