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"The environment was hostile in Ahmedabad": Mickey Arthur on India-Pakistan ODI World Cup clash

Updated on: 13 January,2024 12:44 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Pakistan's World Cup campaign was marked by off-field turbulence, including the news of leaked WhatsApp conversations of Babar Azam.

Mickey Arthur (Pic: AFP)

Pakistan's former team director Mickey Arthur admitted that the environment during the India-Pakistan ICC World Cup 2023 clash was hostile. After Pakistan failed to reach the semi-finals of the global showpiece last year in India, Arthur was replaced by former Pakistan's all-rounder Mohammed Hafeez.

"It was extremely tough not having any Pakistan support. The one thing that really drives the Pakistan team is the incredible support they receive at grounds and hotels.

Here we never had that, and that was quite tough in a World Cup, particularly for the players, Arthur was quoted as saying by the 'Wisden.'

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As you can imagine it was a tough, hostile environment in Ahmedabad. But we were expecting this, and to their credit, our players never moaned or complained once.

They cracked on and tried their best nevertheless it ultimately does play a role in motivation when you can't see or hear that support base around you, he added.

Pakistan's World Cup campaign was marked by off-field turbulence, including the news of leaked WhatsApp conversations of Babar Azam.

However, Arthur said all those outside commotions never really affected the team. The outside noise with Pakistan is incredible, you just have to check your Twitter feed to see so many fires that are ignited out there, that have absolutely no truth attached to them, he said.

You end up and I found this out the first time you're just constantly extinguishing those fires and chasing your tail. What we knew within our team was our game plan, and the defined roles that the players had, and we cracked on with it. There were unequivocally no massive disagreements with the players, Arthur added.

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Back in the year 2017, Mickey Arthur helped Pakistan to clinch the Champions Trophy title. Later while holding to his job with English Country Derbyshire, Arthur defended his decision to work with the Pakistan team as director.

The former South African cricketer also said that he found the remarks by some of the former Pakistan players calling him an online coach.

Anybody who knows me will also know that I will not commit 100 per cent if I can't do it. With Pakistan I was never an 'online coach' as I put together the coaching staff, I was in constant contact with them every single day and knew exactly what was going on within the team.

Because of his great relationship with Pakistan Cricket Board's Chairman Najam Sethi, Arthur accepted the job for a second time with Pakistan Cricket.

I trust Najam Sethi implicitly. We have a very good relationship, and I went in to try and help him because I owe him a lot. He's the one who gave me my opportunity to return to international cricket after I had been sacked by Australia.
He and I built up a good relationship. One of the reasons I returned was to specifically work with Najam again, he detailed.

Arthur also advised the PCB to have a system where players start trusting the structure and believing in the selection process and play for the team. If it's constant change and instability, players go into self-protection mode, and they end up playing for themselves, just thinking about the next tour.

It's frustrating to witness that because players aren't given a proper chance, there's no honest communication and they know things are always going to change, he said.

(With PTI Inputs)

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