Mon, 27 Mar 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 1 (ANI): Former Pakistan skipper and coach Misbah-Ul-Haq opines that the likely re-hiring of Mickey Arthur as national men side's coach is a "slap on Pakistan Cricket".

Arthur is likely to return to Pakistan as its team director following Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Najam Sethi's arrival. Misbah blamed former Pakistan players for damaging the credibility of the system and making PCB look outside the home territory for coaching roles.

Pakistan's talks with Arthur had failed earlier on three occasions, but PCB kept persisting. Arthur had previously coached the side from 2016 to 2019. It is understood that the board is close to agreeing to a deal with him as a team director, rather than a head coach.

If Arthur goes ahead with the role with PCB, it will be his second concurrent coaching role as he is currently in a long-term deal with Derbyshire. Arthur does not want to end his county stint and both sides have agreed to let him have both jobs. In an unusual arrangement, he will not be there with the Pakistan team, but will have handpicked people running the operations for him.

"It is a slap on our cricket system that we are not able to find a high-profile full-time coach," Misbah told ESPNcricinfo.

"It is a shame that the best ones do not want to come and we insist on having someone who is looking at Pakistan as a second option.

"I blame our own system, which is vulnerable enough with so many weak lines for anyone to exploit it. We are to be blamed ourselves that we have disrespected and discredited our own people to make a bad image. The present and former lot do not respect each other, with media and former players using their own YouTube channels for ratings, grossly hitting the credibility and value of our cricket which, as as result, gives an impression that we are not capable.""The Pakistan cricket fan is always disgruntled; he is picking up things from the media and is under the wrong impression. Players speaking against each other with grudges and talking openly with disdain just devalues our community, and that becomes the common perception. Our cricket has been constantly under pressure with wavered and subjective opinions. The game is hardly a subject of objective and constructive discussion.""Cricket is the most popular sport in the country but sadly never hits the headlines in the right way. It is chaos; former cricketers ridiculing their fellow cricketers on national channels with fans getting the wrong sense. There is no empathy, no respect, and no conducive environment in the cricketing quarter of our country," Misbah concluded.

Arthur's previous stint as head coach concluded after a fifth-place finish in the 2019 50-over World Cup. PCB Cricket Committee had recommended not to renew his contract. Misbah was a part of the committee as well and was one of the men responsible for his release.

Notably, it was Misbah who succeeded Arthur as coach and went on to have heavy influence in Pakistan cricket by taking over the role of the chief selector as well. He resigned as coach in September 2021, with an year left in his tenure.

There has been a lot of debate about hiring of foreign or local coaches in Pakistan and Misbah alleged that PCB bureaucracy handled each coach differently and it is the local ones who face more scrutiny.

"PCB is always ready to back foreign coaches but never supports the local ones," Misbah said.

"They are fond of having overseas coaches because they think locals can easily be politicised and are not capable, but do we know it's the PCB bureaucracy who politicised the structure? They throw the local ones under the bus when they come under pressure and there has never been accountability of the bureaucracy in PCB. It's the mismanagement and the consistent changes at the helm that is a problem and we are never able to find one solid line for our cricket.""Now there is a common narrative that Pakistan cricket does not even have a single capable guy and they are forced to look outside. Successful teams like India have completely shifted to homegrown coaches but sadly the policies here are so inconsistent and vague that we are never able to reach a consensus on what we want to do. We have some very good people in our system who can contribute well like Haji (Mohammad Akram), Aaqib Javed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis, etc. but their reputation has been tarnished so badly and people think they are not right for the job," concluded Misbah.

During the tenure of former PCB chief Ehsan Mani, the board tried to pull in modern players into the working structure but many of them were reluctant to join because of the board's inherent instability.

Wasim Akram for example distanced himself from a PCB job and Inzamam ul Haq did not take a long-term role either after completing his tenure as chief selector.

Under Mani, PCB had developed a blueprint to develop home-grown coaches and revamped the National Cricket Academy. It was turned into a high-performance centre for development of players and coaches. A number of coaches were recruited in the system. But on the arrival of Ramiz Raja as PCB chief, the culture of foreign coaches started at the grassroots and domestic level. (ANI)

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