Mickey Arthur says he will not tolerate any selfish players.
Pakistan’s newly appointed cricket coach Mickey Arthur put his future charges on notice Monday, warning he would not compromise on discipline, fitness and fielding ahead of tough tours in England and Australia.
Arthur, who successfully coached his native South Africa from 2005-2010 before migrating to Australia, replaced Waqar Younis, who resigned following Pakistan’s disastrous World Twenty20 campaign in India last month. His appointment is part of wholesale changes Pakistan made to lift the team, which has slumped to ninth in one-day and seventh in Twenty20 rankings.
The dismal slide is mainly blamed on players’ poor discipline, and Arthur warned in a telephone interview from Perth, Western Australia, that he would be cracking down. “I will be tough on discipline and that’s the way we can get better and better results,” the 47-year-old said. “I want everybody to start playing for the team and I don’t want any selfish players around,” he said, calling for “proper values and boundaries.”
Discipline is not a strong point for Pakistan’s notoriously volatile players. Talented opener Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal were both left out of the squad’s boot camp training session ahead of July’s tour of England due to disciplinary issues.
Senior batsman Younis Khan also had to apologize after he was served with a show cause notice following his protest over umpiring in a domestic tournament.
Arthur said he would also be tough on fitness and fielding. “Our bowling is good, but we need to lift our batting massively,” he said. “I will also be tough on fielding and fitness and need players who can play long-term, and these issues are non-negotiable.”
But he also said he required boldness in his players. “I also want players who aren’t prepared to be bullied,” he said.
Arthur, who was sacked as Australia’s coach 19 months into the job in 2013, will be Pakistan’s fifth foreign coach after Richard Pybus, Bob Woolmer, Geoff Lawson and Dav Whatmore. He will take charge ahead of the England tour, where Pakistan play four Tests, five one-day and a Twenty20 international matches between July 14-Sept. 7. They also play three Tests and six one-day in Australia starting in December. In between they will face New Zealand and world T20 champions the West Indies.
The two series against top tier teams England and Australia on their home turf will be “tough,” Arthur said. “For Pakistan players, those conditions are trying, but I want the team to be up for the challenge. Without a doubt we will go to win… If the players show improvement, then I know I am doing my job.”
Arthur said the “sheer challenge” of the Pakistan coaching role—regarded as one of the toughest and most turbulent in international cricket—“really excited me.”
“I know everything about the job, but what I know more is that there is huge passion [for] cricket and there is enormous talent in Pakistan and I think if we can get proper structure in place then we can really get this team far away,” he said.