Arthur blames media over Kumble's captaincy issue

New Delhi, Sep 16 (UNI) South African coach Mickey Arthur has hit back strongly at the critics of his Indian counterpart Gary Kirsten for commenting on the Test captaincy issue.

Arthur feels that India coach Kirsten did nothing wrong when he said ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ready for ''the Test captaincy and that he would do a good job''.

''I was pretty shocked to see what a fuss the Indian media- en masse, I think - made about a recent comment from Gary Kirsten. All he said, from what I read, was that MS Dhoni was ready for the Test captaincy and that he would do a good job,'' Arthur wrote in his coloumn on ''.

''Kumble is 38, for goodness sake. He has back-to-back series against Australia and Pakistan coming up. How long do people expect him to carry on? ''All Gary was doing was attempting to re-assure Indians that Dhoni was qualified and ready to take over. And yet the media managed to twist his words into an attack on Kumble,'' he said.

''If I said Hashim Amla could captain the Test team now and do a good job of it, does that mean I am attacking Graeme Smith? Of course it doesn't! All it means is that Hashim has a good cricketing brain and South Africa doesn't need to worry about the long-term successor should Graeme decide to stand down,'' he clarified.

Arthur also felt that this could create tensions between the captain and coach.

''The relationship between captain and coach is critical to the success of any international team and I have personal experience of how much respect there is between Gary and Anil.'' With the four-match Test series against Australia next month, the South African coach hoped the captaincy issue won't affect India's performance.

''Hopefully it won't detract, in any way, from Team India's performance against Australia. It is a series I will be watching extremely closely as we take on Australia in December.

''Good Luck India. And if Anil does retire afterwards, along with, perhaps, one or two other senior players, then I hope they have good reason to celebrate,'' he added.


Story first published: Tuesday, September 16, 2008, 12:37 [IST]
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