Tuesday Jul 02 2019

Arthur hopes for another stint as coach even if Pakistan crash out of World Cup

LONDON: After getting Mickey Arthur as head coach in May 2016, the Pakistan cricket team has seen some painful lows as well as some memorable highs—which include the team's win at the ICC Champions Trophy.

Arthur's contract, which was extended for another two years after the Champions Trophy triumph, is about to expire this year at the conclusion of the ICC Cricket World Cup, but the South African is looking forward for another stint with the PCB, saying it would be disappointing for him if that doesn't happen.

"I'd love to continue with PCB, there's no secret as I have said it a million times. I think there's going to be a review (after the World Cup). I think there's been some really good work done over time. Yes, we had some disappointing times and it comes and goes with the cricket. But I think if it does not happen it will disappointing, but we can look back at the three years knowing we've made a significant contribution to Pakistan cricket," the 51-year-old told during an exclusive interview in London.

Since Arthur's appointment, Pakistan has won 10 out of 28 Tests it played, although they reached the number one Test position months after he took over, mainly because of Pakistan's performance during the two years prior to that.

Pakistan's greatest win under Mickey Arthur came when the team defeated India to lift the title of the ICC Champions Trophy. They also reached the number one position in the T20 format, winning 30 out of the 37 games they played in the shortest version of the game.

When asked about the high and lows of his tenure, Arthur mentioned reaching number one in T20s and winning the Champions Trophy among the highs, while the performance in Test cricket among the lows during his stint as head coach.

But he believes he can still help improve Pakistan's standard in Test cricket.

"There have been so many highs and lows," Pakistan's head coach added.

Image shows head coach Mickey Arthur at a press conference on June 15 ahead of Pakistan's World Cup match against India.—AFP photo

"I will start from the change in culture. Certainly, there hasn't been any comfort zone, fitness and fielding culture has changed a lot. Guys are totally more aware on their diet. I think we've changed the team a lot," Arthur spoke about how he has been working to improve Pakistan cricket.

"Getting to number one in Test cricket, getting to number one in Twenty20 cricket, and winning the Champions Trophy is among the highs. So, in all forms, we've had had some success. I guess a couple of the lows includes our Test form over the last year. I mean…something that is we really need to work on going forward and hopefully I can play a part in that, in getting our Test team in the Test championship and over the next two years back to where they certainly belong," he added.

Arthur, who also coaches PSL team Karachi Kings, added that he is excited about the young players coming through and that Pakistan should keep giving those young players opportunities because they are going to carry Pakistan cricket forward.

When asked if it was frustrating or difficult to coach a team known for its unpredictability and remains unpredictable throughout, Mickey smiled and said that he and PCB were trying to give players a structured routine to make players more consistent with their performance.

"It's difficult. You run through so many emotions during the game," Mickey said when asked about how he feels to see Pakistan team going up one moment and down the other.

"We are trying to get more and more consistent and the only way we can get more consistent is how we prepare and we prepare the guys really well. We are trying to give them that structure, we are trying give them routines and if we give them a structured routine then hopefully you are going to get better, consistent performances and that is something that we've tried to do. The routines, the discipline, the structure and hopefully that will make consistency a lot better," he added.

He further hoped that the proposed changes in Pakistan's domestic structure would help take players to a standard where they should be before coming to the international setup.

According to Arthur, a lot of players had to start from zero in their attempt to achieve the fitness standards set at Pakistan's international camp.

"A lot of guys that are coming to our setup had to start with zero and that takes time. So, our young players are taking their time to get where they need to be. With the structures in place now I'm confident that the improvement is going to happen," he said.

"Hopefully, we'll plan parts in helping the change because once the domestic structure changes the standards that we use at international level will be transferred down so when players get to us they know the right required fitness levels. Their skills and their eating plans and everything are in place. We can only hope that that happens, because if that happens it means that we don't have to coach the players when they get to international cricket we just got to polish them and that's the difference in cricket in the world, you polishing the players at international level," he highlighted.

Talking further about his experience, Mickey said that another frustrating aspect he faced during his tenure was to see some untrue stories coming out and sometimes such stories deteriorated the trust level.

"I'll be open and honest. The consistent stories out there that are so far from the truth that. When media writes stories, it affects everybody. It affects the team, and it affects everybody else," he concluded.