Plan to make the team no. 1 in all formats, says Pakistan's new coach Mickey Arthur
Having coached South Africa and Australia in his previous assignments, Mickey Arthur finally started with his third coaching stint, arguably his toughest, as he landed in Lahore, Pakistan ahead of the team’s departure for a long tour of England and Ireland. The 48-year-old South African spoke to the media at length about his new job and had some big promises to make to the Pakistan fans.
Explaining his interest in the job, Arthur said, “(It has) massive attraction. You just got to look at the passion that the Pakistan public has for cricket. The passion that everybody in the subcontinent has for cricket. For me, I wanted to come and coach in the subcontinent at some stage of my coaching career because if you haven’t coached in the subcontinent, you haven’t really coached.”
Known for being a tough taskmaster, Arthur did not hold back in explaining his plans for the Pakistan side. "My short term plan is to create a cricket culture and the long-term plan is to make the team number one in all three forms of the game," he said. Pakistan are ranked No. 3 in Test cricket but rank a lowly 9th in ODIs and 7th in T20Is. In fact, it was because of the team’s debacle in the World Cup of the shortest format that former coach Waqar Younus was sacked.
"I don't care if they fail, I don't care if they make mistakes. Professional people are going to make mistakes. As long as we're learning from those mistakes and going forward as a team, I'm going to be happy. I don't want us to fear the failure. I think any team that fears failure is a team that struggles. Certainly I don't want us to fear failure at all and we're going to give players the opportunity to get out there and really perform to the best of their ability.
"The strategy is to make them believe in their own abilities, make them believe where we are going to take this team and that belief comes over time, it just doesn't start. I love to see the players dig deep inside and find the extra 10% that's going to make a significant difference to this team going forward and that's what I will try to dwell and try to get out of every player. To make sure that they become better, and if they become better players Pakistan cricket will benefit. That is my primary focus at the moment."
Mickey Arthur sounded positive about Pakistan’s Test cricket but added that the team needs to improve its performance outside the subcontinent. “Our Test cricket seems to be very good at the moment. Test cricket is being played in conditions conducive to the subcontinent. If we can play well outside the subcontinent [it] means the team's really going forward and those are all the challenges I'm really looking forward to." After England, Pakistan will also be touring New Zealand and Australia later this year.
When asked about how does he plan to rehabilitate the talented Amir back to Cricket, Arthur told the media "He's served his time, he's done it. I had Amir at the PSL, he was a fantastic professional.” Arthur insisted, "The other stuff is not relevant to me, the stuff that's relevant to me is making Mohammad Amir the best he can possibly be as a cricketer.”
Arthur also rubbished claims that his joining the team late will have an effect on how he gets along with the team and the board. Arthur’s arrival was delayed due to visa issues as he had applied for Australian citizenship. The delay in getting the latter resulted in Arthur arriving just on the heels of team’s departure for England. However, Arthur claimed that he has done his homework well.
"I had very good and clear communication with the selection panel before this team was selected," he said. "Inzi (Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's chief selector) and I have built a nice relationship, we spent some time chatting and I know that my opinions will always be taken into account. At the end of the day it's their job to select the best possible team but I know they will do this in consultation with myself and the captain always.
"I've had fruitful discussions with every stakeholder throughout the last month - with Inzi and his selection panel, with Mushi (bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed) in terms of the young players coming through, so I've got a pretty good indication where Pakistan cricket is. I've got a pretty good indication that if we find some players that become long-term, we need to invest in those players, and if we invest in those players and be consistent with our selection, and consistent in the roles that those players have within the team, then, without a doubt, the team will go from strength to strength."
The head coach also met PCB chief Shahryar Khan at the Gadaffi Stadium and discussed his plans to elevate Pakistan’s standing in world cricket.