Saturday Nov 21, 2020
Mickey Arthur has opened up about his time as the head coach of Pakistan cricket team, saying that as "emotional" a job as it was, he loved the experience and admired the "values of players".
Now the head coach of Sri Lanka, Arthur held the same position with Pakistan until he was let go following the World Cup 2019 - an exit that had reportedly left him in tears.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, Arthur said he has fond memories of his three years in Pakistan.
"I loved my time in Pakistan," he said. "I've always said, you've never coached until you've coached in the subcontinent and the subcontinent really appeals to me for a number of reasons. I find the players to be extremely respectful. I find the players want structure because a lot of times they haven't grown up with it. I find the values of players in terms of family so refreshing and good. It's a wonderful and emotional place.
"Pakistan was an emotional place to coach. You are either a king or the villain; there's nothing in between depending on the result. But the thing I always kept saying to the players was that you're only one win away from being a hero again. I loved it and I loved Pakistan; I made some very good friends there. For a foreign coach to last three years in Pakistan... you've done a decent job.
The South Africa-born trainer claimed credit for the success of some young cricketers whom he had nurtured but are now blossoming.
"I just look back at the young players that have come through the system," he said. "They're wonderful players that are going to serve Pakistan for a long time and I look back at that with a lot of pride. It was volatile, exciting, loud, colourful - it touched all my senses and it was a wonderful three years. I learnt a lot from it."
It is pertinent to mention here that current Pakistan captain Babar Azam had recently credited Arthur for giving him confidence even when he was not scoring runs in Tests.
Arthur was also asked if he'd like to respond to veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal's accusation that Arthur had left Pakistan in a mess.
"Just look at what happened to Kamran Akmal," he said. "Kamran Akmal is a comfort zone player. He couldn't field. Sarfraz Ahmed was captain. He wasn't going to be the wicketkeeper. We took him on a West Indies tour and he was average at best. Kamran Akmal failed two fitness tests. So to be honest, anything that the Akmals say, I don't listen to at all. Anything they say, I just take with a pinch of salt."