How Mickey Arthur Pakistan Team Director Unraveled

How Mickey Arthur Pakistan Team Director Unraveled, It was a smoggy Wednesday afternoon in November, and Arthur was puzzled. He stood on a balcony at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, the headquarters of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

He’d been speaking to the PCB’s Cricket Operations Director Usman Wahla, discussing logistics ahead of Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia in December. He’d been asked to wait after a meeting with the chairman had broken for a recess, and he couldn’t understand what was taking so long.

How Mickey Arthur's Pakistan Team Director Unraveled

Most of the cricketing world’s focus, even in Pakistan, wasn’t on Lahore. It was World Cup semifinal day, and New Zealand was giving India a bit of a scare in a tall chase, with Daryl Mitchell and Kane Williamson’s entertaining partnership ensuring the game in Mumbai would be a contest rather than preparation for a coronation. In Pakistan cricket, however, a storm was brewing, and attention would soon shift from Mumbai to Lahore.

Arthur was at the Gaddafi for a performance review called for by the PCB management committee head Zaka Ashraf following Pakistan’s relatively underwhelming World Cup campaign; they were knocked out at the group stage with four wins and five defeats. Arthur, Pakistan’s team director, was already looking ahead, focusing on a high-profile three-Test tour of Australia, a country where Pakistan had lost every Test they had played since 1995.

At The End of The World Cup We Went Back To Lahore

“At the end of the World Cup we went back to Lahore,” Arthur tells ESPNcricinfo in his first interview since his exit. “We had planned the whole Australian tour, so much so that we had thought about teams and combinations. We arrived in Pakistan and there was silence initially.

“And then Zaka wanted a review meeting of the World Cup. We went to that, I did a presentation, and Rehan [ul Haq, the team manager] did a presentation. Grant [Bradburn, the head coach] spoke, and the whole management team was in this meeting.

“There was a recess and we were starting a camp two days later. I was still on the balcony organizing with Usman Wahla what our logistics were going to be. And I wondered why there was such a break in this review. And then I got a little whisper in my ear that Zaka wanted to see me in a separate office in the museum at the HPC [High-Performance Centre]. I went in, he asked me a whole lot of questions and then he said, ‘Look, we’re going to remove the whole support staff and captain, basically, and that was it.'”

Responsibilities of both Arthur and Bradburn

That moment set off bedlam in Pakistan cricket. It would emerge that none of Arthur, Bradburn, or Rehan would go to Australia or the subsequent series in New Zealand. Former Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez, who did not have any coaching or management experience, was appointed team director as well as head coach, concentrating the responsibilities of both Arthur and Bradburn into a man who had the experience of neither.

Ashraf views it differently. “Hafeez is a patriot,” Ashraf tells ESPNcricinfo. “He has a lot of cricketing experience. He had a lot of coaches under him who could handle and organize. Mickey was also not personally handling coaching himself.

“Hafeez was the team director like Mickey and had to manage things, which he did professionally. In critical situations during international tours, Mickey had to fly and he had refused to join Pakistan because of his contract with Derbyshire County. He was coaching online. I have all my respect for him, but how can you do coaching on Zoom?”

Arthur, who is currently two years into a four-year contract with Derbyshire, was pursued by Ashraf’s predecessor Najam Sethi, who wanted him in as head coach. “It was a stable job,” Arthur says pointedly. “I had a really good contract. I couldn’t just drop this and do Pakistan. That goes against my grain. And I told Najam that.”

The PCB and Arthur eventually worked out a deal where Arthur continued with his job at Derbyshire while appointing a team to work with him as team director. It meant he wasn’t around for a significant chunk of his time with Pakistan cricket, especially during the English county season.

What The Next Block of Days Looked?

“I used to wake up early,” he says. “I used to be up at 5.30 in the morning. I would do all my correspondence until 7.30, then get into Derbyshire, and do our day, while being available on the phone through the day. And then when I got home I would sit with Grant over Zoom, and we’d plan out what the next block of days looked like for the Pakistan team. So I was spending a lot of time daily with Pakistan when I wasn’t there too.”

Either way, Arthur joined the team part-way through the Asia Cup. And was with Pakistan for the entirety of their World Cup campaign. There was no clash with the England domestic season during Pakistan’s tours of Australia and New Zealand. And he was slated to be with the team throughout those tours when the decision was made.

There Was Something Even More Immediate

There was something even more immediate, though. Babar Azam, Pakistan’s captain in all three formats, was also at the performance review. He was told he was being removed and opted to state reluctant resignation. The PCB’s official version suggested he was only told he would be removed from ODI and T20I captaincy. Although this is a version that has been disputed.

It all happened at a time when Ashraf was only acting as. PCB chairman in a caretaker capacity since he was never formally elected to the position. As such, he was barred by a court in Pakistan from making decisions that extended beyond nominal day-to-day operational calls. In practice, however, that distinction was never truly enforced, and turnover during Ashraf’s time was high.

“The whole review was just a charade,” Arthur says. “I would have had a bit more respect for Zaka if he’d said it straight out. The way I realized the whole thing was a charade was Mohammad Hafeez was already sitting at the. PCB offices and that’s why Zaka got into trouble because our meeting went on and on and on.”

By abdurrauf2930

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts