KARACHI: Mickey Arthur looked clueless after Pakistan were thrashed by India in a World Cup mismatch at Old Trafford on June 16.
Pakistan’s head coach looked equally clueless when his charges finished their otherwise disappointing campaign on a high following four wins on the trot. It was quite obvious that the same clueless Arthur was unable to convince a high-powered committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which announced on Wednesday that it was parting ways with the South African, who was the national coach for three years.
The PCB announced that it has opted again renewing the contracts of Arthur and the rest of the coaching staff, adding that it would immediately begin a “robust recruitment process.” Along with Arthur, PCB has also decided to let go bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, batting coach Grant Flower and trainer Grant Luden.
Arthur, who told ‘The News’ in London last month that he had “unfinished business” in Pakistan, was desperately looking for a two-year extension. He believed that despite Pakistan’s below-par showing in the World Cup in England he was still the right man for the job.
But PCB’s cricket committee which includes former captains Wasim Akram and Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t think so. They believed that Pakistan needed a fresh start after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the World Cup. Their recommendation to bring in a new coaching staff got a nod of approval from Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman.
Mani said that he happily accepted the committee’s “strong” recommendations. “I am thankful to the PCB Cricket Committee for submitting their recommendations following an exhaustive and detailed review process. The committee comprised of individuals who possess tremendous acumen, experience and knowledge. The unanimous recommendation of the Committee was that it was time for new leadership and a fresh approach. I am happy to accept their strong recommendations,” Mani said.
“On behalf of the PCB, I want to sincerely thank Mickey Arthur, Grant Flower, Grant Luden and Azhar Mahmood for their hard work and unwavering commitment during their tenures with the national men’s team. We wish them every success in their future endeavors.
“The PCB remains committed to its fans and followers and we will do our utmost to ensure that we make decisions that continue to move Pakistan cricket forward in all formats,” he stressed.
Arthur, meanwhile, expressed his disappointment over PCB’s decision. “I am extremely disappointed and hurt,” he was quoted as saying. “I did my wholehearted effort to lift Pakistan cricket,” added Arthur, who could succeed outgoing England coach Trevor Bayliss after the ongoing Ashes.
With Arthur and his staff out of the equation, PCB will soon begin headhunting in a bid to rope in high-profile coaches. The departure of Arthur and co means that most of the men who were at the helm of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign are gone. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq had already announced that he won’t be seeking another stint.
The high point of Arthur’s stint as Pakistan coach was the team’s stunning title-winning triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy in England in 2017. Pakistan also rose to number one in the Twenty20 International rankings under his watch. Pakistan also briefly ascended to number one in the Test rankings following a 2-2 series draw in England.
There were already signs that Pakistan would opt to start afresh after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals. However, Arthur had publicly requested for an extension by stressing that despite the team’s failure he was the best man for the job.
“There is unfinished business in Pakistan,” he told ‘The News’ in London. “I would hate to see these young players go back to the old system. We have spent three years trying to instill a new structure and it would be like time wasted,” he said.
“Pakistan will remain my first choice. If we come to an agreement I would love to stay in Pakistan,” he said. “Anybody new coming in will have to start all over again,” he commented.
“Personally I would like to spend two more years with these players. Having spent three years with Pakistan I know the structure, I know the people, I know the best players,” he had stressed. Unfortunately, for him, Pakistan cricket’s current think-tank didn’t agree with him.
This story was originally published in The News on August 8.
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