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  1. #1
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    "Mohammad Amir knows what he needs to do to get back into international cricket" : Mickey Arthur

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, the Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur spoke of Babar Azam's bright future as a key batsman for Pakistan, what Mohammad Amir needs to do to come back to the national side, clarified his position on the issue of a conflict of interest in his association with Karachi Kings and spoke candidly about the reasons for Pakistan's failure in the Asia Cup.




    PakPassion.net: How satisfying was it for you personally to beat Australia in the recent series?

    Mickey Arthur:
    It’s always a lovely feeling beating Australia. As someone who grew up in South Africa and is now an Australian, I know that Australia were South Africa’s greatest rivals. Also having coached Australia and then defeating them here in the UAE was a very special feeling not just for me but for all of us. I was particularly pleased about the very special cricket we played across all formats during the series in the UAE.


    PakPassion.net: Babar Azam may be doing exceptionally well in the shorter formats of the game, yet his stats in Test cricket seem to be an area of concern. Have you suggested any areas of improvement for him?

    Mickey Arthur:
    For Babar Azam, it's just about his confidence in Test cricket. We know that he is a quality player and a very good cricketer in all forms of the game and he will play for Pakistan for a long time to come. If we look back at the Test match against Ireland, he scored a 59 in a pressure situation and was 68 not out when he had to retire hurt after being hit by a Ben Stokes delivery, during the Lord’s Test match against England and he is showing good signs for us.


    PakPassion.net: Is playing the short-ball a genuine issue for Pakistani batsmen?

    Mickey Arthur:
    This is not a problem for us alone, it’s a problem for all batsmen in the world. Batsmen simply don’t like short-pitched bowling and there is no doubt about it. And when such a ball is bowled at 150KpH as Lockie Ferguson was doing during the ODI series for New Zealand, it’s very uncomfortable but that does not mean that these deliveries cannot be played. I feel that the batsmen we have in our Test team all have the technique to counter short-pitched bowling. So, it's not like how the old Asian teams who used to tackle this problem when they went to South Africa or played in England or Australia. They would simply look to stay on the leg-side or fend-off the short-balls or play to slips or to the gully area. Our players now when faced with such conditions go to their off-stump and defend to mid-on. So, technically our players are far better than they were before, and they have been coached better as well. In fact, they are better players in all conditions, so I am very comfortable that our players are well-equipped and have the right tools to face short-pitched bowling.


    PakPassion.net: Mohammad Amir is not in any Pakistan squad at the moment but what is being done to monitor his progress during his time away from the national side?

    Mickey Arthur:
    Mohammad Amir knows what he needs to do to get back into international cricket. I regularly speak to Amir and his coach in the domestic side who has done some good work with him. What he is doing now is following up on information that Azhar Mahmood and I have sent through to him. We monitor Amir’s progress which includes looking at his recent videos from domestic games. Every time he bowls, we look at the videos and send our comments back to him. Let’s be clear about the fact that Mohammad Amir is a quality bowler, he has big-match temperament and I am hoping that we can have Mohammad Amir back in the fold, sooner rather than later provided he gives us the ammunition to pick him. It's runs for batsmen which is the criteria for selection and similarly, it’s wickets for bowlers which are important. If we can get Mohammad Amir swinging the ball again, getting though his action and be very comfortable with the hunger and desire to win games for Pakistan, then Mohammad Amir has a big future with the side.


    PakPassion.net: Mohammad Abbas has been in phenomenal form in recent times but what's he like to work with and how good can he become in the future?

    Mickey Arthur:
    Mohammad Abbas has simply been outstanding. What really impresses me about him is his maturity. He knows his body and his bowling so well. He is like a machine and he knows exactly what to do to get the best results. For coaching staff, it's so good to work with players who know what to do to achieve ultimate success and certainly Mohammad Abbas is one of those cricketers. I have no doubt that he will go from strength to strength and when we go to South Africa, I expect him to be a handful in those conditions.


    PakPassion.net: Shaheen Shah Afridi has been picked for all three squads but in doing this, is there a danger of burning him out?

    Mickey Arthur:
    We will certainly monitor the progress of Shaheen for sure. He has come into our Test squad now and let me tell you that we have bigger plans for him. I think he could be very effective on the wickets in South Africa where you need tall guys who can provide you with pace and bounce and he can easily do that for us. It is highly unlikely that we will see him in too many Test matches in the UAE, but we will be working very hard with him over the next few weeks to get him ready to play a Test match or two in South Africa. But, like I said, Shaheen Shah Afridi is a long-term project for us now.


    PakPassion.net: Wahab Riaz was brought back into the Pakistan Test squad but struggled. What happens now for him?

    Mickey Arthur:
    I would like to give a lot of credit to Wahab as we gave him an opportunity before where had to go away and work on certain aspects of his bowling which he did. He got stronger and fitter and he has the desire and hunger to play for his country. You cannot fault his effort in the way he has gone about his work, but it just didn’t work out for him in the series against Australia. He could not give us the performance we needed from him but certainly the door is not shut for Wahab at all. His energy is fantastic, and he is working extremely hard and I am hoping that we will see him in the Pakistan side in the future.


    PakPassion.net: How would you respond to suggestions that there is some reluctance to pick Junaid Khan for the national side?

    Mickey Arthur:
    There has been no reluctance to pick Junaid Khan at all. He has been a very valuable member of our One-Day squad. Ever since the Champions Trophy, he has been in every One-Day squad we have had with the exception of the tour of New Zealand which was due to injury.

    In a way, that speaks highly of the bowling stocks that we have at our disposal at the moment as we have the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Usman Khan Shinwari all within our ranks. On the topic of Usman, let me say that whilst he did not get a game in the ODI series against New Zealand, it is a fact that whenever he plays, he never ever lets us down. So once again, let me stress that the absence of Junaid Khan in our team is a testament to the strength of bowling stocks available to us that what we have created. We have such depth in bowling that I haven’t even mentioned the names of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz who are waiting in the wings to be selected.

    Coming back to Junaid Khan, let me say that whenever we pick him, Junaid never lets us down. We are in a very fortunate position now where are able to rotate our quick bowlers, so our bowlers are never getting tired. This is important as, let’s be honest, it’s the bowlers who are winning us One-Day games of cricket. Our bowling attack is wonderful and it's one of the better bowling attacks in world cricket and the good thing is that we have a very good nucleus of quick-bowlers who we can rotate as needed.


    PakPassion.net: Mohammad Hafeez has made a comeback in matches in the UAE but are you convinced that he can also make similar contributions overseas?

    Mickey Arthur:
    I cannot speak more highly of Mohammad Hafeez’s comeback to the national side. He has been brilliant, and his performances have been excellent as well. He has been brilliant in the way he has worked and gone about his business and hopefully we will continue to see success for a while from him in the future. From a player who had been left out of the squad to a player who has comeback to win us games in the last few months in the UAE, his performances have been excellent. He has simply been superb in all departments of the game.


    PakPassion.net: How do you fit Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali into the Test team when all are fit?

    Mickey Arthur:
    Well, the short answer to this is, you can’t! Once again, we have an awkward position of players sitting out now who are worthy of place but cannot be accommodated in the playing XI. That is something we are very conscious of and that is creating depth in all departments. So, we can afford to have Fakhar Zaman go away and rest himself and say to him, you have two Test matches off for yourself so get your knee fixed and we will have you back, so you can make some massive contributions in the remaining Test and then in South Africa later.


    PakPassion.net: Shadab Khan has done really well in recent times but seems to be struggling with an injury, what’s the update on that?

    Mickey Arthur:
    Shadab Khan has been playing games with a groin injury for a long period of time so we are giving him a break too. If we keep on playing these young players without a break, they will burn out very quickly so, we have to manage them properly. Now we have put Shadab on a very strict rehabilitation program. He has gone home where he will rest. Then, he will have active rest and then the next seven days he starts rehabilitation work and then he joins up with us. Then he works with our staff to get him ready for our tour of South Africa. As I said, we have created that depth in every department which allows us the luxury to play guys who are fresh and that is a good position to be in at the moment.


    PakPassion.net: Are you keeping an eye on young pacers like Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa and Arshad Iqbal. If so, what are your thoughts on them?

    Mickey Arthur:
    We do keep an eye on the up and coming players like the ones mentioned. Let me tell you a story about Mohammad Musa. We watched Mohammad Musa and Shaheen Shah Afridi on TV bowling around the 140KpH mark during the ICC Under-19 World Cup semi-final against India and that really interested us. So, we invited both of these bowlers at the next training camp we had for the national side. Musa really impressed all of us at the camp and he is very much on the radar. He picked up an injury, but he is part of our tracking system at the moment. Naseem Shah is another bowler who has done exceptionally well and also bowled in one of our camps. As for others I have seen only on videos, but we do rely on Mudassar Nazar who is out there, and I can assure you that our young guys are being tracked and monitored much better now than they ever were before. Mudassar and his team are doing a wonderful job in picking up new talent. If they think the player is good enough, they have him over at the NCA and we all have a look at what he can do for us.


    PakPassion.net: Ehsan Mani has mentioned that any conflict of interests for PCB staff are being looked into. Does this concern you as you hold the position of coach of Karachi Kings and are also the Head Coach of Pakistan?

    Mickey Arthur:
    To be clear, when I signed for the position of Pakistan Head Coach, I was already coach for Karachi Kings, so this is not an issue with my current contract. Now, I would love to renew my contract with Pakistan and when I renew, this will be a point which we will need to sit down and debate upon. For the time being, my association with Karachi Kings and my position as Head Coach is agreed upon and written into my current contract.

    Let me also add that in my view, there is no conflict of interest at all. As I have said before, I am professional enough to do my job properly. Pakistan is my priority, and for me to be working with other young players, whether they belong to Karachi Kings or to another team, and to seeing them play with or against my PSL side has to be good thing and it makes sense for the national coach of Pakistan to be involved in this type of activity. It allows me a platform to see all the young talent from Pakistan and to work with them. So, I think this is a bonus for Pakistan, and for people who think I am going to be involved in some sort of skulduggery is just balderdash. I am only here for the betterment of Pakistan cricket. I am so passionate about Pakistan cricket that I would never ever put myself in a position where there will be a conflict of interest.


    PakPassion.net: Is Sarfaraz Ahmed’s workload as captain of all three teams a matter of concern?

    Mickey Arthur:
    I can’t speak more highly of Sarfaraz. There have been some media reports about issues between Sarfaraz and myself and I can tell you that we have an unbelievably good relationship. I can’t speak more highly of the job he does as captain of Pakistan’s cricket teams. We know our roles very well and we work very well together and we both have the same vision and direction of where we want to take this cricket team. To give you an example of Sarfaraz’s commitment, recently we had optional net practice before the current Test series and he was out there hitting balls. To me, that shows his dedication, professionalism and desire to succeed for his job and for his country. As long as Sarfaraz is showing that kind of attitude, we certainly won’t rest him.


    PakPassion.net: What went wrong with Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Some observers felt that the players were not focussed and appeared overconfident?

    Mickey Arthur:
    We were certainly very focused, and we trained incredibly hard for the tournament. It was one of the competitions where I saw for the first time a little bit of a lack of confidence within the side. This very young team were playing with a huge weight of responsibility and expectations and we did not deal with that pressure particularly well. Since the Asia Cup, I have been so proud of the way the boys have played their cricket. We sat down and had a proper group conversation about what we did in the Asia Cup. In that tournament, we were scared, and we showed a fear of failure for the first time. But we left all that behind when we played against Australia and New Zealand and this is how this very young Pakistan team will play their cricket in the future.

    However, there was no complacency or not wanting to do well in the Asia Cup but as I said, this was the first time I saw the players a little bit scared and a little bit of fear but they have come through incredibly well.
    Last edited by Saj; 28th November 2018 at 00:21.


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  2. #2
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    Good interview, but I was hoping there would be some questions with regards to spinners, Zafar in particular.

    That's the one area where Mickey is lacking.


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  3. #3
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    It seems like Mickey is very positive about a Wahab comeback...please no!

    The Mickey Sarfaraz combo is doing fine. We need one or two gun batsmen and the team will start to win more.

  4. #4
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    This interview was done before the NZ series, by the way.


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  5. #5
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    There is no way that Pakistan can leave Amir out of the squad from SA tour and WC in UK. He will do better than Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali. He has more pace and experience and he will swing the ball outside of UAE dead wkts. Afridi, Hasan, Amir, and Abbas will be my regular choice. Hafeez will be a waste of batting slot in SA test series. Fakhar will do well on fast and bouncy pitches.

  6. #6
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    Very good and mature interview, good questions and Mickey answered them very well and knows inside out what he's doing.
    Apart from that, I would have just liked Mickey's thoughts about Junaid's absence from the Test squad which is arguably his best format.

  7. #7
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    Good to read about the thought of Shaheen being in final XI in South Africa.

  8. #8
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    Wonderful comments.

    My only slight reservation is this: I think that Mohammad Amirís batting at Number 9 will be crucial in South Africa, given that in similar conditions in Australia he scored a lot more runs than Misbah-ul-Haq did.

    Amir was sent back to domestic cricket, where he has taken a mountain of First Class wickets at an average of 13 apiece.

    In South Africa I see Amir opening the bowling with Abbas and each of them bowling 6 overs in the first hour of each session.

    In the second hour I see Faheem bowling a 6 over spell at one end, while Shaheen Shah Afridi bowls 4 express overs at the other end followed by 2 overs from Shadab.

    There is no role for Yasir Shah on those wickets. Even Shadab is just there as a batsman who can bowl ten overs per day.

    And Amir is not in competition with Shaheen for a slot - they compliment one another!

    Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi are the only two bowlers selected for their bowling.

    Given how bad the specialist batting is, you then use BATTING as much as bowling to decide who to pick between:

    Mohammad Amir or Hasan Ali at Number 9.

    Faheem Ashraf or Ehsan Adil at Number 8.

    Shadab Khan or Yasir Shah at Number 7.

    Incidentally, given his recent success and his height, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of reference to Ehsan Adil as a specialist in South African conditions.
    Last edited by Junaids; 28th November 2018 at 17:03.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junaids View Post
    Wonderful comments.

    My only slight reservation is this: I think that Mohammad Amir’s batting at Number 9 will be crucial in South Africa, given that in similar conditions in Australia he scored a lot more runs than Misbah-ul-Haq did.

    Amir was sent back to domestic cricket, where he has taken a mountain of First Class wickets at an average of 13 apiece.

    In South Africa I see Amir opening the bowling with Abbas and each of them bowling 6 overs in the first hour of each session.

    In the second hour I see Faheem bowling a 6 over spell at one end, while Shaheen Shah Afridi bowls 4 express overs at the other end followed by 2 overs from Shadab.

    There is no role for Yasir Shah on those wickets. Even Shadab is just there as a batsman who can bowl ten overs per day.

    And Amir is not in competition with Shaheen for a slot - they compliment one another!

    Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Shah Afridi are the only two bowlers selected for their bowling.

    Given how bad the specialist batting is, you then use BATTING as much as bowling to decide who to pick between:

    Mohammad Amir or Hasan Ali at Number 9.

    Faheem Ashraf or Ehsan Adil at Number 8.

    Shadab Khan or Yasir Shah at Number 7.

    Incidentally, given his recent success and his height, I was a bit disappointed at the lack of reference to Ehsan Adil as a specialist in South African conditions.
    In addition to that, Amir averaged 44 with the bat on England tour and has scored 30+ runs 3 to 4 times after returning to domestics.

    He is also averaging 40+ in ODIs with the bat this year

  10. #10
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    Judging by the comments seems as though Shaheen is definitely going to start in South Africa.
    @Saj in your next interview with Mickey can you asking why he doesn't want to select a specalist spinner other than Yasir in all formats?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hasan123 View Post
    Judging by the comments seems as though Shaheen is definitely going to start in South Africa.
    @Saj in your next interview with Mickey can you asking why he doesn't want to select a specalist spinner other than Yasir in all formats?
    Even Sarfaraz has hinted on this.


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  12. #12
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    Good interview. Regarding the fast bowling in general I'm excited to see how they perform in SA, particularly Abbas and Amir (who I assume will play).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyRabbit View Post
    Very good and mature interview, good questions and Mickey answered them very well and knows inside out what he's doing.
    Apart from that, I would have just liked Mickey's thoughts about Junaid's absence from the Test squad which is arguably his best format.
    Mickey Arthur: There has been no reluctance to pick Junaid Khan at all. He has been a very valuable member of our One-Day squad. Ever since the Champions Trophy, he has been in every One-Day squad we have had with the exception of the tour of New Zealand which was due to injury.

    In a way, that speaks highly of the bowling stocks that we have at our disposal at the moment as we have the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Usman Khan Shinwari all within our ranks. On the topic of Usman, let me say that whilst he did not get a game in the ODI series against New Zealand, it is a fact that whenever he plays, he never ever lets us down. So once again, let me stress that the absence of Junaid Khan in our team is a testament to the strength of bowling stocks available to us that what we have created. We have such depth in bowling that I haven’t even mentioned the names of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz who are waiting in the wings to be selected.

    Coming back to Junaid Khan, let me say that whenever we pick him, Junaid never lets us down. We are in a very fortunate position now where are able to rotate our quick bowlers, so our bowlers are never getting tired. This is important as, let’s be honest, it’s the bowlers who are winning us One-Day games of cricket. Our bowling attack is wonderful and it's one of the better bowling attacks in world cricket and the good thing is that we have a very good nucleus of quick-bowlers who we can rotate as needed.



  14. #14
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    @Saj Have you asked Micky about not playing specialist spinner in Asia cup and now relying on Bilal? A separate question about hafeez role in tests would have been awesome?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRsohail View Post
    @Saj Have you asked Micky about not playing specialist spinner in Asia cup and now relying on Bilal? A separate question about hafeez role in tests would have been awesome?
    He said this about Hafeez.

    PakPassion.net: Mohammad Hafeez has made a comeback in matches in the UAE but are you convinced that he can also make similar contributions overseas?

    Mickey Arthur: I cannot speak more highly of Mohammad Hafeez’s comeback to the national side. He has been brilliant, and his performances have been excellent as well. He has been brilliant in the way he has worked and gone about his business and hopefully we will continue to see success for a while from him in the future. From a player who had been left out of the squad to a player who has comeback to win us games in the last few months in the UAE, his performances have been excellent. He has simply been superb in all departments of the game.



  16. #16
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    Why not ask him about Zafar. Its almost as he is nonexistent


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    He said this about Hafeez.

    PakPassion.net: Mohammad Hafeez has made a comeback in matches in the UAE but are you convinced that he can also make similar contributions overseas?

    Mickey Arthur: I cannot speak more highly of Mohammad Hafeezís comeback to the national side. He has been brilliant, and his performances have been excellent as well. He has been brilliant in the way he has worked and gone about his business and hopefully we will continue to see success for a while from him in the future. From a player who had been left out of the squad to a player who has comeback to win us games in the last few months in the UAE, his performances have been excellent. He has simply been superb in all departments of the game.
    Micky looks like not to resist any more as he has gone through harsh experience in the past. By the way Hafiz contributions have been nothing except those t20s. We al know it and Micky knows it bus chalti ka naaam gaari .

  18. #18
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    Mickey is a great coach for Pak Team!! good choice should be continued for at least three more years!

  19. #19
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    @Saj can you bring up Zafar's name up with him? He's the second spinner they've been looking for.


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Mickey Arthur: There has been no reluctance to pick Junaid Khan at all. He has been a very valuable member of our One-Day squad. Ever since the Champions Trophy, he has been in every One-Day squad we have had with the exception of the tour of New Zealand which was due to injury.

    In a way, that speaks highly of the bowling stocks that we have at our disposal at the moment as we have the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Usman Khan Shinwari all within our ranks. On the topic of Usman, let me say that whilst he did not get a game in the ODI series against New Zealand, it is a fact that whenever he plays, he never ever lets us down. So once again, let me stress that the absence of Junaid Khan in our team is a testament to the strength of bowling stocks available to us that what we have created. We have such depth in bowling that I haven’t even mentioned the names of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz who are waiting in the wings to be selected.

    Coming back to Junaid Khan, let me say that whenever we pick him, Junaid never lets us down. We are in a very fortunate position now where are able to rotate our quick bowlers, so our bowlers are never getting tired. This is important as, let’s be honest, it’s the bowlers who are winning us One-Day games of cricket. Our bowling attack is wonderful and it's one of the better bowling attacks in world cricket and the good thing is that we have a very good nucleus of quick-bowlers who we can rotate as needed.
    Saj what's your opinion about reintroducing Junaid into the Tests as we don't have a third established pacer in Tests who has cemented their place yet.?

    Abbas is definitely the spearhead while Hasan Ali has been making good strides in Tests recently. But when it comes to having a third seamer, which we will definitely need in SA, NZ, Aus and England, we don't have anyone who has nailed down his spot yet. Shaheen is definitely going to be a contender, so is Mir Hamza. Amir has fallen out of favor recently and with good reason.

  21. #21
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    Aamir attention is divided and his not focused may be due to family or distraction due to number of T20 leagues. It is not going to be easy for him. Needs mental coaching to get his determination back!!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnyRabbit View Post
    Saj what's your opinion about reintroducing Junaid into the Tests as we don't have a third established pacer in Tests who has cemented their place yet.?

    Abbas is definitely the spearhead while Hasan Ali has been making good strides in Tests recently. But when it comes to having a third seamer, which we will definitely need in SA, NZ, Aus and England, we don't have anyone who has nailed down his spot yet. Shaheen is definitely going to be a contender, so is Mir Hamza. Amir has fallen out of favor recently and with good reason.
    For South Africa, if all fit and firing on all cylinders and in good form then I would go with Hassan Ali, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir.

    If this doesn't work then Shaheen Shah Afridi could be a handful on those wickets.



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    Does anyone have amir stats in domestic since he's been dropped?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmirilion View Post
    Does anyone have amir stats in domestic since he's been dropped?
    First Class:

    Batting: 5 innings 125 runs avg 25
    Bowling: 6 innings 23 wickets avg 13

    List A:

    Batting: Batted only once remained not out on 6
    Bowling: 2 innings 4 wickets avg 17 eco 4.3

  25. #25
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    I think Mickey has really figured out well how to navigate the den of vipers that is Pakistan cricket. That’s no knock on him, because you need it to survive.

  26. #26
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    And he is back and very much in need of a big series in South Africa.



  27. #27
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    Amir got smashed in the Asia Cup. I know that's LOI cricket but it was supposed to be his best format. He's fast descending into another trundler. I can't see him doing anythng special, as always it will be upto the other bowlers to step up.

  28. #28
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    Why cant rahat, ehsan adil, sohail khan, asif, imran khan jr, junaid , sohail khan ?

  29. #29
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    Amir always puts pressure by which guys like Abbas, Yasir can benefit.


    "You aren't a failure if you fail, you are a failure if you don't get up to try again" - Imran Khan.

  30. #30
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    Bowled very well today and looked in good rhythm.

    Decent pace, not at his quickest, but he's bowled in good areas on Day 1 so far.



  31. #31
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    Improvements to Mohammad Amir's bowling since his recent stint in domestic cricket

    Is it just me or you see a clear daylight between Amir and Shaheen/Hasan? Yes Amir has more experience but the length which was his problem before don't you think he has sorted it out and will get better after bowling more? Discuss...

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    Bowled very well today and looked in good rhythm.

    Decent pace, not at his quickest, but he's bowled in good areas on Day 1 so far.
    Seemed to slow down in 2nd innings?


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  33. #33
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    Below par from the leader of the attack in 2nd inning. Besides that spell from the hard new cherry, looked innocuous.

  34. #34
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    Cape Town - In an exclusive interview, Pakistan coach MICKEY ARTHUR addresses allegations of discord in the camp, offers his take on the state of South African cricket and looks ahead to the Test at Newlands.

    Sport24 asked: How would you sum up your time in charge of Pakistan?

    Mickey Arthur: I assumed the Pakistan head coaching position in 2016 and, in terms of my experiences thus far, the first word that comes to mind is exhilarating. My time at the helm has been fantastic and a journey that I have really enjoyed. My family and I are still based in Perth and as a consequence we do a helluva lot of travelling. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way because it’s crucial to have that core family unit together. When you are travelling around the world, that is very crucial. My wife Yvette and my daughters Ashton, Brooke and Kristin have all been very supportive of my journey and I’m indebted to them that they have let me do this job... I have been working with some fantastic players in a country that is so passionate about cricket. Pakistan is a great team to be a part of and to see the emergence of young players is exciting. Giving some of them the opportunity to perform has been great. Shaheen Afridi is going to be fantastic. There are also guys you probably haven’t seen like Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq. We have so many young cricketers that are going to make a real contribution to Pakistan cricket going forward. In terms of fully embracing the coaching position with Pakistan, the one thing I learned from the Australian job was that culturally you have to adapt everywhere. People think that South Africa and Australia are culturally similar but, having worked in both environments, I found that theory to be untrue. When I took charge of Pakistan, I stopped and had a look from the outside before making any judgements calls. I got used to the culture because I think that is so important. For you to move a team forward as a coach, you have to understand the culture. In terms of taking learnings from Gary Kirsten’s success with India, I think we were at different points when we took over in our respective coaching roles. I had a little look at that as a case study, but I think we were both at different points of our development. When Gary assumed the reins, the Indian team was very well-set and established, whereas this Pakistani side is a very young outfit moving forward.

    Sport24 asked: How would you assess the current mood in the camp?

    Mickey Arthur: A lot of the reports have been absolutely sensationalised. It was a normal debrief like we usually do, but the fact is that I was annoyed because I felt that we were an hour away from dominating a Test match after being in a dominant position at tea on the second day. It was disappointing that we didn’t grab that opportunity and run with it. As head coach, I try to give clear role clarity, instil structure and create an environment in which players can excel. That has always been my stance here and these young players just want to get better and better. It’s about cultivating a high-performance environment where mediocrity is not accepted. (Arthur allegedly had a heated argument with senior playing personnel and purportedly threw objects in the dressing room). I want to win every game that my players are involved in and, as a result, I am very emotionally attached to everything. Emotions boiled over for me a little bit during the first Test. (Arthur confronted the TV umpire and has since received an official warning and one demerit point for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the third day’s play in the first Test). Going forward, I suppose I have to channel my emotions in the right direction. I was emotional as a player and that has not changed as a coach – in fact I think it has probably got worse. But it was a hard and honest chat I had with the players. I am just upfront and honest and that is how I have always been. In terms of my personal development, I think I am a far better coach now than I was. I was talking to Graeme Smith the other day and we discussed how we evolved. We made a lot of mistakes along the way, but we found out how to evolve as leaders together. Graeme went on to achieve great heights with South Africa and I would like to think that I am now a far better coach than I ever was.

    Sport24 asked: Is there friendly fire between you and Ottis Gibson?

    Mickey Arthur: Myself and Ottis were team-mates at Griqualand West and we played 13 domestic matches together. As the opposing head coaches, there is plenty of friendly fire between us. We have already shared a meal and have sat down and caught up. I am so happy to see Ottis coaching South Africa and doing so well. He is a fantastic coach and a great person, so to see what he is doing with South Africa, and I watch it closely, is great. In terms of the landscape of South African cricket, we played against an invitational team prior to the first Test and there were some helluva good players there. South Africa seems to be producing some very good players and the Proteas team is very well led by Faf du Plessis. South African cricket looks fairly healthy to me. I don’t know what it’s like at the core, because I am no longer in the system, but from the outside it looks healthy. South Africa have gone pretty well with their cricket at the moment. The functioning of their team is not for me to worry about, but from the outside they look like pretty well established as a team. However, I think South Africa’s ranking of third in the Test arena is probably a fair assessment at the moment. In order to attain the number one spot, you have to win consistently outside of your own country. I think that is the key to getting to number one and claiming the Test Championship mace.

    Sport24 asked: Your outlook ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup?

    Mickey Arthur: I reckon there are probably eight teams out of 10 that are in with a shout to win it, which is going to make the World Cup a fascinating event. South Africa will be one of the teams to challenge for the World Cup trophy in the UK and so will we. Our objective is to win it. We have done well in the shorter formats and our white-ball cricket is fairly good at the moment and I am quite comfortable with it. We have got a good core team and players that know their roles very well and perform them. Us winning the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy was built around allowing guys to go out and express themselves. We will employ the same approach this time. In terms of my management team, we have a great group of guys and the coaching staff is very cross-spectrum. We have some characters from the North Pole and others from the South Pole so to speak. That is what makes the coaching team tick. Everybody has got an opinion and we challenge each other constantly and that makes for a very good coaching environment. (The batting coaching, Grant Flower, is from Zimbabwe, bowling coach, Azhar Mahmood, is from Pakistan and fielding coach, Grant Bradburn, is from New Zealand). In terms of my contract, I am with Pakistan until the end of the 2019 World Cup, but who knows what will happen after that. I am really enjoying my time with the team. In terms of where I see myself in five years, I honestly don’t know because things change so quickly in this game.

    Sport24 asked: How would you assess your current Test outfit?

    Mickey Arthur: We are currently ranked seventh in the world and there is massive room for improvement for us. The reality is that that is where we sit at the moment. We have lost a lot of core senior players, so we are a Test side that is developing at the moment. But we are not happy with that and I’m hoping that within the next year or two we can get ourselves where we need to be and that’s right at the top. It was a difficult opening Test for us at Centurion and in conditions that were really tough and very alien for our players. However, I think they have handled themselves well. They team has prepared well and we are ready to go for the second Test (which gets underway at Newlands on Thursday morning) and the players are fast getting used to the local playing conditions.

    Sport24 asked: Who would be your dream dinner guests?

    Mickey Arthur: If I could invite three dream dinner guests, it would be Roger Federer, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Donald Trump. Federer without a doubt inspires me in terms of a sporting context. Hopkins is one of my favourite actors and was brilliant in The Silence of the Lambs alongside Jodie Foster. Last but not least, Trump would get invited as he would provide the evening’s entertainment.

    https://www.sport24.co.za/Cricket/ex...ort24-20190102


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  35. #35
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    Mickey Arthur on Amir today in Lahore

    Mohammad Amir's form

    "He will be the first one to tell you his stats haven't been good in ODI cricket. He's aware of it, as are we. I think he's an incredibly skilled bowled and can win games for Pakistan. When the ball swings, there's no better bowler. Yes, it hasn't swung for a bit and we're working on that. We identified he was decelerating into the crease"

    "He's still incredibly skilled and has big match temperament. When the game's on the line, he wants the ball in the pressure situation and that's good enough for me at any stage. So many players across the world don't want the ball when the game is on the line, but he does. I was happy to see his performance in the last T20I, his skill level came to the fore, he executed yorkers beautifully and he gets a bit of reverse as well. Stats, not great and we know that. But sometimes you have a gut feel about the player. When the big moment presents itself, I'm comfortable that he will deliver"

    http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/sh...-Mickey-Arthur


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  36. #36
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    He's signed for Essex. Is that before or after world cup?

  37. #37
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    The atmosphere in the Pakistan dressing room on 4th of June at Edgbaston during the 2017 Champions Trophy would have been gloomy, to say the least. A loss to their arch rivals by 124 runs (DLS) would have been the cause for some extremely sad faces in the Pakistan squad but the manner of defeat would have hurt them deeply.

    Whilst the Pakistan players would have been thinking with dread about the possibility of an early exit from the much-vaunted 50-over ICC competition, one can only imagine the thoughts going through the mind of their well-respected Head Coach, Mickey Arthur.

    Brought in to replace the legendary pace-bowler Waqar Younis in May 2016, Mickey Arthur was expected to instil his unique brand of discipline that saw him take the South Africa side to the number one ODI ranking in 2008. And if there ever was an opportunity for a supreme test of his resolve and experience, it was in England in the summer of 2017.

    In 1992, it was the now legendary ‘Cornered Tigers’ speech which seemed to lift the fast-sinking Pakistani ship and inspire them to win the World Cup. In 2017, Pakistan were once again faced with a situation where the possibility of an early exit from a premier ICC tournament was very real. The fact is that after the initial defeat to India, it was the team talks from Arthur which would play a pivotal role in the rest of Pakistan’s campaign at the Champions Trophy.

    From being classed as underdogs to a competitive outfit to champions, the story of Pakistan’s 2017 Champions Trophy win could well fit into any modern-day coaching manual and for that Mickey Arthur’s contributions will never be forgotten by followers of Pakistan cricket.

    The Australian cricket establishment did not approve of Mickey Arthur’s penchant for attention to detail and that lead to the now famous ‘homework gate’ episode, resulting in his leaving his job as Head Coach for Australia in 2013. If the perhaps restrictive style of coaching was a problem for Australia, the very same attitude was something that Pakistan cricket needed, and results have shown that to be a good decision so far.

    In a cricket culture that was known for its almost lethargic approach to fielding or where issues related to fitness were brushed under the guise of low priority items, Mickey Arthur’s no-nonsense approach to such matters was an eye-opener and possibly a source of irritation for some.

    Players such as Umar Akmal whose position in the side was considered safe before were now being asked to prove their fitness in line with the new ethos of Team Pakistan. The results of this exercise were not always pretty or to the liking of some as in the case of Umar Akmal who found himself out of the side after being unceremoniously dropped at the start of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and has had to wait until 2019 to be given another chance to represent his country again.

    Many eyebrows were raised when Mickey Arthur was brought in as Head Coach, with many former players and members of the local media doubting the sincerity of his intentions. The Champions Trophy win put at least a temporary end to such allegations. What impressed all was the pride which he took in Pakistan’s successes and the agony he felt when they did not succeed, as has been shown on television footage on many occasions.

    To Mickey Arthur, coaching Pakistan is not just a job, it’s a mission which he has taken-up with humility and dedication which many of his predecessors had frankly failed to show. In his own words, the position of Head Coach of Pakistan is “a job I am very passionate about and one that I absolutely love.” The numerous statements of appreciation by Pakistan players who have played under his guidance are also proof that he holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Pakistan side he admires so much. It would, therefore, not be an exaggeration to state that the brand of cricket he espouses and the processes he is putting in place for Pakistan cricket will allow him to leave a legacy of excellence whenever he leaves his position in the future.

    And so, now to the next target for his much-loved Pakistan side which is to become World Champions by winning the ICC World Cup later this summer. The pressure to follow-up with another victory in England to match the one in 2017 will be a tough one but Mickey Arthur knows that just like the great Imran Khan in 1992, he too has the resources at hand to make the dream of a second title a reality once again.

    To many experts, the 2019 World Cup will be the most open one in the history of the competition with most teams having an equal chance to win the title. Regardless of that prediction, it is also true that Pakistan are known to have done their best when playing in England and spectators at the Pakistan versus Afghanistan encounter on 29th June at Emerald Headingley will have a perfect chance to witness Mickey Arthur’s Pakistan cricket revolution and what his side can do when they play to their potential.

    https://yorkshireccc.com/news/view/7...-arthur-chance


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  38. #38
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    Amir may know what he needs to do but not sure Mickey knows what he has to do.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    The atmosphere in the Pakistan dressing room on 4th of June at Edgbaston during the 2017 Champions Trophy would have been gloomy, to say the least. A loss to their arch rivals by 124 runs (DLS) would have been the cause for some extremely sad faces in the Pakistan squad but the manner of defeat would have hurt them deeply.

    Whilst the Pakistan players would have been thinking with dread about the possibility of an early exit from the much-vaunted 50-over ICC competition, one can only imagine the thoughts going through the mind of their well-respected Head Coach, Mickey Arthur.

    Brought in to replace the legendary pace-bowler Waqar Younis in May 2016, Mickey Arthur was expected to instil his unique brand of discipline that saw him take the South Africa side to the number one ODI ranking in 2008. And if there ever was an opportunity for a supreme test of his resolve and experience, it was in England in the summer of 2017.

    In 1992, it was the now legendary ‘Cornered Tigers’ speech which seemed to lift the fast-sinking Pakistani ship and inspire them to win the World Cup. In 2017, Pakistan were once again faced with a situation where the possibility of an early exit from a premier ICC tournament was very real. The fact is that after the initial defeat to India, it was the team talks from Arthur which would play a pivotal role in the rest of Pakistan’s campaign at the Champions Trophy.

    From being classed as underdogs to a competitive outfit to champions, the story of Pakistan’s 2017 Champions Trophy win could well fit into any modern-day coaching manual and for that Mickey Arthur’s contributions will never be forgotten by followers of Pakistan cricket.

    The Australian cricket establishment did not approve of Mickey Arthur’s penchant for attention to detail and that lead to the now famous ‘homework gate’ episode, resulting in his leaving his job as Head Coach for Australia in 2013. If the perhaps restrictive style of coaching was a problem for Australia, the very same attitude was something that Pakistan cricket needed, and results have shown that to be a good decision so far.

    In a cricket culture that was known for its almost lethargic approach to fielding or where issues related to fitness were brushed under the guise of low priority items, Mickey Arthur’s no-nonsense approach to such matters was an eye-opener and possibly a source of irritation for some.

    Players such as Umar Akmal whose position in the side was considered safe before were now being asked to prove their fitness in line with the new ethos of Team Pakistan. The results of this exercise were not always pretty or to the liking of some as in the case of Umar Akmal who found himself out of the side after being unceremoniously dropped at the start of the Champions Trophy in 2017 and has had to wait until 2019 to be given another chance to represent his country again.

    Many eyebrows were raised when Mickey Arthur was brought in as Head Coach, with many former players and members of the local media doubting the sincerity of his intentions. The Champions Trophy win put at least a temporary end to such allegations. What impressed all was the pride which he took in Pakistan’s successes and the agony he felt when they did not succeed, as has been shown on television footage on many occasions.

    To Mickey Arthur, coaching Pakistan is not just a job, it’s a mission which he has taken-up with humility and dedication which many of his predecessors had frankly failed to show. In his own words, the position of Head Coach of Pakistan is “a job I am very passionate about and one that I absolutely love.” The numerous statements of appreciation by Pakistan players who have played under his guidance are also proof that he holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Pakistan side he admires so much. It would, therefore, not be an exaggeration to state that the brand of cricket he espouses and the processes he is putting in place for Pakistan cricket will allow him to leave a legacy of excellence whenever he leaves his position in the future.

    And so, now to the next target for his much-loved Pakistan side which is to become World Champions by winning the ICC World Cup later this summer. The pressure to follow-up with another victory in England to match the one in 2017 will be a tough one but Mickey Arthur knows that just like the great Imran Khan in 1992, he too has the resources at hand to make the dream of a second title a reality once again.

    To many experts, the 2019 World Cup will be the most open one in the history of the competition with most teams having an equal chance to win the title. Regardless of that prediction, it is also true that Pakistan are known to have done their best when playing in England and spectators at the Pakistan versus Afghanistan encounter on 29th June at Emerald Headingley will have a perfect chance to witness Mickey Arthur’s Pakistan cricket revolution and what his side can do when they play to their potential.

    https://yorkshireccc.com/news/view/7...-arthur-chance
    Did a great job in CT but since then been sub par, all eyes now on pakvaus and World Cup to see if he can do better


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter


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