Mickey Arthur’s tenure as the Pakistan team’s head coach came to an end following a dismal campaign in the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.
In terms of coaching, Arthur has had lots of experience. Before Pakistan, he coached his native South Africa from 2005 to 2010, was also the coach of Australia from 2010 until his sacking in June 2013, and was most recently handed the job at Sri Lanka, replacing interim coach Rumesh Ratnayake.
The 51-year-old, in his latest interview with Sportstar, pointed out the differences in coaching a sub-continent side when compared to teams like South Africa and Australia.
“There are so many cultural differences. The one key aspect to coaching Pakistan was understanding the religious aspect around it, which is very prominent. It’s understanding the respect level that the young Pakistan players have for the senior players. It’s there in India too. There is a real respect,” said Arthur.
“I like an environment where players challenge each other and talk about games and have differences of opinion, that’s when you start moving the team forward. Those conversations have been tougher in sub-continent. Those conversations are different because they are easier had in South Africa or Australia. But because of the respect level and the different cultures I find in the sub-continent that no younger players will challenge a senior player. It’s really good and very respectful. But in other way, to move the team forward, you need to be able to have those conversations as a group,” he added.
Arthur, during time as Pakistan gaffer, also emphasized the importance of having proper structures in place if the team is to nourish the correct talent.
“When we came in, there was no real structure. So, the first thing was to give whole cricket a bit of structure. It was important to find training sessions, find goals, find values that the team stood for. It was kind of finding the players who you felt fitted the team and then fitting those players within your team, so that you could give the team success now, but also attain sustainable success. Also, I had to keep an eye on what was happening down the lower level. That wasn’t always possible because as I said, the structure was so haphazard in Pakistan. It was tough but I tried to keep a finger on the pulse in terms of what was happening certainly from the U-19 team all the way through,” he further stated.
The Protean also regarded Babar Azam as one of best batsmen in the world and claims that he saw him grow from an amateur to a proper star.
“I saw Babar Azam grow as a cricketer. That was so important. People had said that Babar Azam cannot play. I ensured that Babar Azam plays every game for Pakistan. He is that good a player. We had to give him the roots to grow and wings to fly. We had to give him the time and we are seeing the results now. I love developing younger players and giving them opportunity was crucial because over a period of time, that gives you sustainable success.” Arthur concluded.