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I have Unfinished Business In Pakistan: Mickey Arthur

Head coach Mickey Arthur. Photo: AFP 
LONDON: Hopes were high when Mickey Arthur took over as Pakistan’s coach in the summer of 2016.

After all, he was a top-notch international coach, who was supposed to help bring Pakistan at par with top-flight teams.

Three years later he could lose his job if Pakistan are unable to reach the World Cup semi-finals, an outcome that has become a big possibility following India’s bizarre defeat against England in Birmingham on Sunday.

That’s because there are indications that Pakistan’s think-tank could opt to start afresh after the World Cup.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is already weighing it options. It ordered a post-mortem of the national team’s performance at the World Cup following disastrous loss against old rivals India in Manchester on June 16.

Arthur and the rest of Pakistan’s coaching staff could be in danger of losing their jobs in case Pakistan are unable to qualify for the last four.

However, the 51-year-old, who coached South Africa and Australia before taking over the Pakistan team, is hoping that the country’s cricket chiefs will vote for continuity.

“There is unfinished business in Pakistan,” Arthur told ‘The News’ in an interview here at the team’s hotel in Swiss Cottage on Tuesday.

“I would hate to see these young players go back to the old system. We have spent three years trying to instill a new structure and it would be like time wasted,” said Arthur.

So that means Arthur wants to stay as Pakistan coach, no matter how his team’s World Cup campaign ends?

“I have my options,” said Arthur. “But I have loved every moment I’ve spent coaching Pakistan. “So yes, Pakistan will remain my first choice. If we come to an agreement I would love to stay in Pakistan,” he said.

Much, however, will depend on how it all ends for Pakistan.

The team was under intense fire after back-to-back losses against Australia and India but things have cooled down following three successive wins against South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan.

The scenario can change again if Pakistan crash out of the World Cup. That’s quite likely because they will be virtually out of the race for semi-final qualification if England beat New Zealand at Chester le Street on Wednesday. Or they might lose to Bangladesh at Lord’s on July 5, a result that would ignite yet another storm back home.

A big public outcry could bring Pakistan and Arthur back in the line of fire. The people at the helm of the World Cup post-mortem could opt to recommend bringing in a new coaching staff to prepare the team for future events like next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Arthur fears that any knee jerk reaction could dent whatever inroads Pakistan have made in the bid to bring more professionalism to their cricket structure in the last three years.

“Anybody new coming in will have to start all over again,” he said.

“Personally I would like to spend two more years with these players. Having spent three years with Pakistan I know the structure, I know the people, I know the best players.

“If things go in our direction (after the World Cup), I would like to work on our Test team. Bring it to the right place,” he added.

Arthur believes that Pakistan have had a busy schedule during his stint as the head coach. He is now looking forward to a six to seven-week break after the World Cup.

He is planning to work at the grassroots level with his fellow coaches especially Grant Flower, Pakistan’s batting coach.

“These past years we’ve been on the road most of the time.

“But we will have six, seven weeks off after the World Cup. We will definitely be in a position to work at the grassroots level.

“We can really dig deep into our cricket structure. We can get a lot of camps going. We can now work on the players technically and mentally,” he said.

“We will have time to actually coach the players now,” he stressed.

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