Arthur expects Pakistan to perform well in upcoming Tests against Windies


LAHORE: Newly-appointed head coach Mickey Arthur, while giving much importance to discipline, also expressed on Thursday that the main target for him was to prepare a strong Pakistan team which could play equally well both in and out of subcontinent region.

Addressing his first press conference soon after reaching Pakistan to take up his first assignment as coach with the national team, Arthur said discipline was a high priority for him.

“You can’t compromise on structure, team’s culture and team’s values. If any individual clicks in any broader organisation, that has to go in different directions. A team has to show good values and good culture to win matches and that is important for me,” Arthur said.

“All the players [of a team] have to play for each other and win matches with good values, good culture and with hard work,” he insisted.

When asked what he would advise to Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal, Arthur said: “All three have a lot of talent and they are very good cricketers and the selection panel has to take decision for them. But I have advice for them that like any other guy they have to show good attitude, good work ethics and score runs to come back into the team,” Arthur said.

To a question, the South African who came here after getting Australian citizenship, said though Pakistan were a top side, they lacked in performance outside the subcontinent conditions.

“If you ask me, Pakistan’s performances in the UAE and in subcontinent region are good but outside of that, they lack in many departments like fielding and batting and my prime task is to make Pakistani players capable enough to compete everywhere with equal potential,” he said.

To yet another question, Arthur said Pakistan team was a bit weak in batting and fielding but it had outstanding bowlers, both in spin and seam bowling departments.

Commenting on the unpredictability of Pakistan team, Arthur said: “For that we have to inject self-belief in their abilities and that belief will come with the passage of time. I don’t want the players to feel fear of failure and they should be secure as cricketers. If you feel fear of failure you can’t perform to your abilities. We need to invest in our players and be consistent in our selection,” he emphasised.

Speaking about his first target on the upcoming England tour, he said he was keen to prepare such a team which could perform in best possible manner and which could overcome the hurdles that come its way.

“But again we have to absorb the conditions quickly, out of the sub-continent where we normally struggle. As quickly as we learn this technique we will be on the right track. We have to tour New Zealand, the West Indies and Australia too this year and should be ready for that,” he said.

Responding to a question, Arthur said there was massive attraction for him to be Pakistan’s head coach.

“Just look at the passion of cricket among the public here in Pakistan, this is a massive attraction for any real coach,” said Arthur.

He said Pakistan would have to improve their strength in both ODI and T20 cricket where they were constantly going downhill in rankings.

Asked if he would take the advice of ex-Pakistan head coach, Australian Geoff Lawson, that good relations with ex-Test cricketers of Pakistan would be necessary for a comfortable stay with the Pakistan team, he admitted that it was important and he would certainly keep that channel open for valuable advice from former players.

However, he added that he was in a position to take decisions, which required to take Pakistan cricket high which was his real interest.

Arthur said he had very fruitful discussions with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed and the PCB management including chairman Shaharyar Khan, adding they all were good supporters for Pakistan cricket.

He said his input was taken in the selection of Pakistan team. However, he added at the end, it was the job of the selectors to finalise the team.

To a query, the head coach said there was no need to have any reshuffle in the team management as all others like Grant Flower (batting coach), Grant Luden (trainer) and new physio Shane Hayes were good in their respective fields.

Speaking about Misbah-ul-Haq, Arthur said he was an excellent cricketer and captain. “I could not work with Misbah in the past but I am looking forward to working with him now. I am also seeking to work with ODI captain Azhar Ali and T20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed,” he said.

He said his short-term plan was to create a culture necessary to make the team successful in all three formats. And his long-term plan was to make Pakistan team No.1 in all formats and to produce good all-rounders.

When asked for his opinion on the Pakistan Super League, Arthur said the PSL was proving to be an excellent vehicle for improving Pakistan cricket.

“While coaching Karachi Kings, I witnessed how the youngsters mixed up with big players. The PSL is a boon for Pakistan cricket,” he said.

When reminded that he could not complete his contract with Cricket Australia in the past, he said: “In Australia, sometimes things work and sometimes don’t, but I have a good record with Australia, too.

But there are issues which we need to address. We had good five years with South African team and good two years with Australia, too.”

Earlier, Arthur arrived in Lahore on Wednesday night and spent a busy Thursday, having meetings with chief selector, coaches, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and executive committee chairman Najam Sethi.

He also applied for the England visa, which was required for him to enter England, despite having Australian passport.

“The visa of England for Arthur is necessary because the team is going on business visa, so, Arthur has to apply for it,” a PCB official said.

However, he added, as the visa was applied on a priority basis and it would take hardly four days to get it and the Australian official would go with the Pakistan team on June 18.