Former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has admitted his disappointment in not being rewarded with a contract renewal after being let down by people he ‘trusted’.
Arthur’s three-year tenure with Pakistan came to an end last month with the board choosing to appoint Misbah-ul-Haq in his stead. Misbah was part of the three-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cricket committee which reviewed Arthur’s tenure with the Men in Green following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
The committee, which also included former pacer Wasim Akram, opted against renewing Arthur’s contract despite his desire to continue for another two years. Ultimately, Misbah was appointed in a dual role of head coach and chief selector of the Pakistan team after tendering in his resignation from the cricket committee.
“I said Misbah would be outstanding (for the cricket committee) because he was a godfather of Pakistan cricket and he is – Misbah is an outstanding individual make no mistake about that,” Arthur told ESPNcricinfo’s Stump Mic podcast.
“And I sort of said, I thought Wasim Akram would be good to get on the committee because I think Wasim just understands the international game so well. He carries a huge stature in international cricket.
“Those were guys I endorsed and guys I really enjoyed. As I say, they had a job to do and they decided it was in the best interests of Pakistan cricket to go with a fresh set of eyes. And it just happened to be that Misbah was on the committee that didn’t renew our contracts and becomes this heir-apparent.”
Arthur was let go along with batting coach Grant Flower and bowling coach Azhar Mahmood with Waqar Younis replacing the latter in his role. While not taking any direct names, the South African felt certain members of the cricket committee had breached his trust.
“I guess the only disappointment I have out of the whole lot is that there were some people I really trusted who ultimately didn’t follow through,” he said.
“I’m not talking about the hierarchy; I’m talking about people on the cricket committee that I did trust who sort of said one thing and ultimately did another.
“So that was the disappointing aspect of it.”
Meanwhile, Misbah’s first major assignment as coach and selector is set to get underway on Friday when Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in the three-match ODI series opener against Sri Lanka at Karachi.
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Former India star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh believes that the team management’s recent criticism of Rishabh Pant’s shot selection will only prove to be counterproductive.
Pant’s rash manner of dismissals, especially in the limited-overs formats, has come increasingly under the scanner in recent months with skipper Virat Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and batting coach Vikram Rathour publicly criticising the young wicketkeeper batsman.
The 21-year-old’s erratic displays in West Indies were followed up with a poor showing in the recently concluded T20 series against South Africa where the left-hander fell to two tame dismissals.
While he has been asked to tread a fine line between careless and fearless cricket by Rathour, Yuvraj feels that suppressing Pant’s attacking instincts is not the solution.
“Somebody needs to get the best out of him (Pant),” the World Cup winning all-rounder told NDTV in a recent interview.
“How you get the best out of him is completely based on his character. You have to understand his character, you have to understand his psychology, and you have to work like that.
“If you’re going to suppress him, you’re not going to get the best out of him.”
Pant’s start to his Test career has been a rewarding one so far with the youngster becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper in history to register tons in England and Australia last year. However, the same consistency has eluded him in the shorter formats with his average in ODIs and T20s currently standing at 22.90 and 20.31 respectively.
Yuvraj wants the Indian team management to mentor Pant carefully if they are extract the maximum out of his explosive potential.
“At the moment, the thing is, at the IPL young guys are getting a lot of money. So maybe someone needs to tell them how to go about their business or how to go about their life, and what is your priority,” he stated.
“Somebody really needs to talk to them and get the best out of them, rather than shouting or suppressing, things are not going to help.
“That guy has scored two Test away hundreds at a very young age, so the guy has a lot of potential. How do you get the best out of that guy is something they have to realise.”
Having scored just 23 runs in the two T20 innings against the Proteas, Pant will now hope to get better returns in the upcoming three-match Test series against the same opposition which begins on October 2.
India’s first home series since their semi-final defeat at the 2019 World Cup ended in a draw after the hosts found themselves on the receiving end of a thumping loss to South Africa in the third and final T20 at Bengaluru.
The hosts were forced to share the spoils with a new look South Africa side led by Quinton de Kock and have now failed to win a home T20 series against the Proteas for the second time in a row.
The two completed matches will give the Indian team management plenty of food for thought as they look to build a side for 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. Here, we rate how India’s players fared across the two matches.
OVERALL GRADE: B
Shikhar Dhawan – 8/10
Having averaged just nine in India’s series win against West Indies last month, Dhawan put in a much more commanding display against the Proteas with two quickfire innings of 40 and 36.
Rohit Sharma – 4/10
A series to forget for the India deputy skipper against an opposition whom he has dominated many times in the past. Just 21 runs in his two innings from Rohit.
Virat Kohli – 7/10
The India skipper was superb at Mohali with an unbeaten 72-run knock to guide a masterful run chase. However, he once again struggled to set the tone when India were batting first with a listless display at Bengaluru. Kohli averages more than 81 while chasing in the T20 format but it comes down drastically to 33.41 when batting first.
Rishabh Pant – 3/10
With a debate over his shot selection already raging on before the start of the series, Pant only added further fuel to the fire with tame dismissals in both of his innings. His confidence with the bat looks shot at the moment.
Shreyas Iyer – 5/10
The youngster had impressed in India’s ODI series rout of West Indies recently but he failed to bring the same form to the T20 format and was completely outfoxed by South Africa rookie spinner Bjorn Fortuin at Bengaluru.
Hardik Pandya – 5/10
India’s star all-rounder failed to make a decisive impact with either bat or ball on his comeback to the side after an extended break. Some signs of rustiness but should get better with more games under his belt.
Krunal Pandya – 4/10
Pandya’s elder sibling had a series to forget and was particularly woeful in the final T20 where he conceded as many as 40 runs in less than four overs. Failed to make a mark with the bat as well and his place could be under threat for the next series.
Ravindra Jadeja – 6/10
The all-rounder’s extended run in India’s limited-overs setup continued and he was decent with the ball in hand without really standing out. Bowled more economically compared to other spinners such as Pandya and Sundar.
Washington Sundar – 6/10
Like Jadeja, Sundar was tidy with his off-spin without being spectacular. He was difficult to get away for South Africa’s batsmen but wickets eluded him in both the matches.
Deepak Chahar – 8/10
The India seamer maintained an economy-rate of less than 5.30 in his two appearances while also picking up two important wickets in the win at Mohali. He was excellent with the new-ball as usual but showed his growing ability to bowl in the death overs as well.
Navdeep Saini – 3/10
A horror series for the young India pacer who looked extremely promising in the recent tour of West Indies. Saini averaged nearly 60 in the two clashes against South Africa while conceding runs at the rate of almost 10 an over. International cricket is a sharp learning curve and it will be interesting to see how he responds to this setback.