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  1. #1
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    Mickey Arthur drags Pakistan's One-Day cricket into the modern era but leaves uncertain Test legacy

    Thanks to @Markhor for this review of Mickey Arthur's tenure.




    When Mickey Arthur was appointed coach in 2016, Pakistan were tottering in 9th and 7th position in the ODI and T20 rankings. His mandate was clear. Qualify for the 2019 World Cup, and drag Pakistan’s white ball teams into the modern era. The South African not only needed to deliver results but deliver cultural change. Upon his arrival, Pakistan had come off a dismal 2016 World T20 campaign where they were derided for being one of the most unfit and lethargic fielding teams in the world.

    With Arthur’s arrival came the yoyo tests and an equally tough taskmaster in Steve Rixon. An injection of youth shaped by the Pakistan Super League added to a sense of renewal in Pakistan cricket even if results weren’t instant.

    A year into his tenure however and for all of Arthur’s tough talk of uncompromising standards and a new brand of cricket, patience was running out. Pakistan limped into the 2017 Champions Trophy with an unfancied squad and expectations of a group stage exit. Mauled by India in the opener and an utter shambles in every department – Arthur was on the brink of another unceremonious sacking from an international coaching job.

    What transpired in the next fortnight would define Mickey Arthur’s Pakistan legacy and remains imprinted in all our minds. Arthur rang the changes, benching two high profile seniors Ahmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz, and brought in Fakhar Zaman who along with Hasan Ali were Pakistan’s heroes of the tournament. Pakistan won their next four matches and their first ICC 50 over competition since 1992. The best virtues of Mickey Arthur’s philosophy were displayed in that win – an aggressive style of play, commitment in the field, attacking with pace bowlers and a collective effort than reliance on individuals.

    Since that Champions Trophy win, we’ve also seen the limitations of Mickey Arthur’s virtues, most apparent in the Test arena. Fortress UAE had been unbreached since 2010. Since 2017, both Sri Lanka and New Zealand ambushed Pakistan in two series it should not have lost. Tactically, Arthur seemed uneasy attacking with spin and the attritional nature of cricket in Asia, and made a shocking error in choosing just one spinner for the Sri Lanka series. Winning just 10 out of 28 Tests will have been a factor behind PCB Cricket Committee’s decision to not renew Arthur’s contract.

    However one can fairly argue losing two stalwarts in Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq would’ve meant a difficult transition for ANY coach in his position, and a weak First Class system has failed to produce enough Test quality cricketers. Not to mention unlike Mickey Arthur’s predecessors in Dav Whatmore and Waqar Younis – the Test schedule has been far more uncompromising with away trips to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and two to England in a three year cycle!

    Finishing 5th in the 2019 World Cup, recovering well after a poor start by winning the last four games and only missing out on a semi-final place on Net Run Rate, along with the continual blossoming of youngsters like Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi and Imam-ul-Haq under his watch led to speculation Mickey Arthur would be given another year. However a disappointing set of ODI results leading into the World Cup, losing 16 out 23 ODIs since the 2018 Asia Cup, and the launch of a new ICC Test Championship, meant PCB sought a fresh start with a new coach at the beginning of another 4-year World Cup cycle.

    Nevertheless, Mickey Arthur leaves stronger white ball teams than the one he inherited. Against the countries that competed in the World Cup, Arthur’s ODI W/L ratio of 0.735 is significantly better than his predecessor Waqar Younis (0.347). Only twice under Waqar did Pakistan amass 300+ totals against the other nine top ODI sides, whereas Arthur’s team did so on 14 occasions. Pakistan’s Runs Per Over and bowling average also improved. In T20s, Pakistan won 30 out of 37 and appear one of the contenders for next year’s T20 World Cup. Here, evolution and not revolution is necessary from the new coach.

    The former South Africa and Australia coach had a point to prove after “Homework Gate” and later sacking from the Australia job in 2013. He emerges from his Pakistan tenure with his reputation largely enhanced and with a plentiful supply of T20 leagues and other international vacancies to explore including his native South Africa. He spoke of it “being a miss” had he finished his career having never coached in the subcontinent – well Mickey will not forget his experience of coaching this particular subcontinental team any time soon!


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  2. #2
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    Mickey is unlucky to not hav his contract extended. He was pulling pak in the right direction. I just hope they dont go for a local coach.

  3. #3
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    Excellent analysis by Markhor (as usual)

    Mickey's reign wasnt as bad as we made it to be - but problem for him is the quality of players being provided. If he could have controlled that somehow, that would have been better.


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  4. #4
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    Must be some modern era given that we lost 14 odis in a row on his watch. We really have very poor standards as a nation

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    Must be some modern era given that we lost 14 odis in a row on his watch. We really have very poor standards as a nation
    5 ODIs were with a B team but obviously that streak was disappointing. However you must acknowledge we're playing a better brand of ODI cricket than 3-4 years ago.

    We've surpassed 300 fourteen times under Mickey vs the other top nine sides, whereas under Waqar we did so twice.

    Our RPO has improved too and there's a promising young core of players he's left behind, who've already won an ICC trophy.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    5 ODIs were with a B team but obviously that streak was disappointing. However you must acknowledge we're playing a better brand of ODI cricket than 3-4 years ago.

    We've surpassed 300 fourteen times under Mickey vs the other top nine sides, whereas under Waqar we did so twice.

    Our RPO has improved too and there's a promising young core of players he's left behind, who've already won an ICC trophy.
    A loss is still a loss, the reason why we are scoring more runs at a decent rate is because Misbah ul Haq is no longer in the team

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    A loss is still a loss, the reason why we are scoring more runs at a decent rate is because Misbah ul Haq is no longer in the team
    Even when Misbah left, we were playing 1990s style cricket between 2015-16. Any objective observer can see the batting improvement.

    In that England series our batsmen would score 300-350 for fun but our bowlers released all the pressure. Where Mickey deserves criticism is our deteroriation in new ball skills and failure to groom a specialist spinner.
    Last edited by Markhor; 13th August 2019 at 00:28.

  8. #8
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    Nice write-up @Markhor, spot on assessment.


    Pakistan is that kid who never studies for his exams but is surprised when he fails.

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    lol at uncertain test legacy. As soon as I saw that i knew it had to be @Markhor. The sad thing and what tells you everything is that even when markhor is having to use the term ‘uncertain’ you really know Mickey arthurs tenure was in the toilet.

    His test legacy is very certain and it is that he was absolutely woeful. He is the most tactically inept coach I have ever seen at test level.

    All in all he was a failed coach.

  10. #10
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    The write up seems to make an excuse that Arthur’s test record is compromised due to losing the big test batting stalwarts whereas the simple truth is that the rut had started even with them and we lost a test to West Indies in UAE and barely won another one against them to win the series. And we went to a weak NZ away test series and got whitewashed even though much stronger kiwi teams have long been out whipping boys

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Excellent analysis by Markhor (as usual)

    Mickey's reign wasnt as bad as we made it to be - but problem for him is the quality of players being provided. If he could have controlled that somehow, that would have been better.
    It was terrible. He is the ONLY coach who had the luxury of PSL selections and it was those players which won us the Champions trophy.

    Also in terms of power he had the most power any Pakistani coach has had in recent memory. He wanted Akmal gone and boom he was gone. Same with Shehzad. And also Wahab Riaz eventhough he was humiliated to have to bring him back later. Our coach prior to Mickey shouted himself hoarse in trying to drop Shehzad and Akmal but he was never even allowed that simple request.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    It was terrible. He is the ONLY coach who had the luxury of PSL selections and it was those players which won us the Champions trophy.

    Also in terms of power he had the most power any Pakistani coach has had in recent memory. He wanted Akmal gone and boom he was gone. Same with Shehzad. And also Wahab Riaz eventhough he was humiliated to have to bring him back later. Our coach prior to Mickey shouted himself hoarse in trying to drop Shehzad and Akmal but he was never even allowed that simple request.
    Mickey had more influence than Waqar but he had earned it. He oversaw a very successful period in South African cricket and also managed to land the Australian job, although that went south quickly. Nevertheless, he has impressive credentials.

    On the other hand, the only credentials as coach that Waqar had are a previous flop stint with Pakistan and falling out with Afridi, in addition to applying for Australia’s bowling coach role and getting rejected.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Mickey had more influence than Waqar but he had earned it. He oversaw a very successful period in South African cricket and also managed to land the Australian job, although that went south quickly. Nevertheless, he has impressive credentials.

    On the other hand, the only credentials as coach that Waqar had are a previous flop stint with Pakistan and falling out with Afridi, in addition to applying for Australia’s bowling coach role and getting rejected.
    Waqar took us to our best finish in a World Cup since 1999


    #MPGA

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Waqar took us to our best finish in a World Cup since 1999
    It was the bare minimum for us in those conditions. Anything less than that would have been a complete failure. Anyway, it was a good World Cup for us.

  15. #15
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    Drags into modern limited overs era but good 2-3 years down the line.

  16. #16
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    And remember Pakistan never lost a Test series in UAE before Micky and now we have lost two out of the last three

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    The write up seems to make an excuse that Arthur’s test record is compromised due to losing the big test batting stalwarts whereas the simple truth is that the rut had started even with them and we lost a test to West Indies in UAE and barely won another one against them to win the series. And we went to a weak NZ away test series and got whitewashed even though much stronger kiwi teams have long been out whipping boys
    The difference between our unbeaten UAE Test record staying intact and being lost was 25 runs across two botched Abu Dhabi chases vs SRL and NZL.

    Both times we desperately needed a captain's knock, but Captain Fantastic was back in the hut. Remind me what our Dear Leader's batting average is in all formats since being appointed ? Yet Sarfraz fans keep deflecting blame onto Mickey and Inzamam as if they should bat and captain for him !

    Yes we lost two overseas series with Younis and Misbah in Australia and New Zealand but they were past their peak and those are extremely tricky places for Asian teams to tour especially with little warmup matches to acclimatise. New Zealand are twice World Cup finalists and have the best team in their history so calling them weak is absurd.

    ANY coach would've felt the losses of Younis and Misbah. Look at the one series Waqar played without them - England in 2010 where we were bowled out for sub-100 totals with ease.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Waqar took us to our best finish in a World Cup since 1999
    Mickey went one better and actually won a trophy.

    A semi final finish with peak Ajmal, Afridi and Hafeez in Asian conditions was par. We all saw what happened in 2015. By the end of Waqar Guardiola's tenure we were tottering in 9th and 7th in ODIs and T20s, and crashed out of 2016 WT20 group stages. He left a huge mess for Mickey to clean up !

    Again versus the other top 9 ODI sides, Mickey has a better W/L ratio, more 300+ totals (14 vs 2), better RPO (5.45 vs 5.17), higher batting average (35 vs 27) and even higher BOWLING average despite Waqar being a legendary fast bowler (37.16 vs 40.96) !

    Mickey leaves behind a better inheritance for his successor than Waqar in white ball cricket, having developed a promising young core of players.

  18. #18
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    Nice free PR article for Mickey!

    One of the worst coaches stints, we moved to minnow status in Tests, kept losing ODIs on probably the longest losing streak as well.

    Mickey had the most amount of talent available to him, so many good prospect players. Yet he brought us down in the two formats that do matter, particularly bad in Tests. Even stuck to the likes of Malik in a freaking World Cup.

    There's no justification for his poor performances. We need to stop glorifying him.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Nice free PR article for Mickey!

    One of the worst coaches stints, we moved to minnow status in Tests, kept losing ODIs on probably the longest losing streak as well.

    Mickey had the most amount of talent available to him, so many good prospect players. Yet he brought us down in the two formats that do matter, particularly bad in Tests. Even stuck to the likes of Malik in a freaking World Cup.

    There's no justification for his poor performances. We need to stop glorifying him.
    I'm not defending Mickey's Test record but the facts show he's left a stronger ODI team for his successor.

    Waqar:

    Name:  Waqar Younis stats.jpg
Views: 327
Size:  79.0 KB

    Mickey:

    Name:  Mickey Arthur stats.jpg
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    Versus the other 9 World Cup teams.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for making this easier, @Markhor.

    So,

    Waqar vs. Mickey Arthur
    Tests W/L: 2 vs 0.5
    ODIs W/L: 0.3 vs. 0.7


    That goes to show how WOEFUL Arthur was! Took us to the minnows level in the TEST format, the premier one.

    With the best talent in decades available to him, the PSL there for him, lots of power given to him, he managed a W/L ratio of 0.7 in ODIs. No Umar, Shehzad, Nasir, Younis Khan..!!!

    Amazing!

    More reasons to stop giving him false and free publicity.

    We don't even have a backup captain. He continued to stick with Malik of all people, even at the grandest stage.

    Brother @Slog and @Savak might have more to add to this - I wasn't aware he had such a woeful record particularly in Tests. ODIs aren't good either with all that talent + PSL.
    Last edited by Hawkeye; 14th August 2019 at 01:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Waqar took us to our best finish in a World Cup since 1999
    In that WC all we had to do was beat the minnows and we were through LOL. As if that was some achievement.

    The fact you think qualifying for the next round in that WC is a achievement sums up the minnow mentality amongst our fans.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkeye View Post
    Thanks for making this easier, @Markhor.

    So,

    Waqar vs. Mickey Arthur
    Tests W/L: 2 vs 0.5
    ODIs W/L: 0.3 vs. 0.7


    That goes to show how WOEFUL Arthur was! Took us to the minnows level in the TEST format, the premier one.

    With the best talent in decades available to him, the PSL there for him, lots of power given to him, he managed a W/L ratio of 0.7 in ODIs. No Umar, Shehzad, Nasir, Younis Khan..!!!

    Amazing!

    More reasons to stop giving him false and free publicity.

    We don't even have a backup captain. He continued to stick with Malik of all people, even at the grandest stage.

    Brother @Slog and @Savak might have more to add to this - I wasn't aware he had such a woeful record particularly in Tests. ODIs aren't good either with all that talent + PSL.
    You seem to be under the impression that I'm defending Mickey's Test record. Far from it. However did Mickey's predecessors tour Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and England twice in a three year cycle ? Did they have to manage the transition after losing two stalwarts in Younis and Misbah ? Did they have a pathetic nonperforming captain in Sarfraz ? No, so we must place the numbers in context.

    Not sure why you scoff at the improvements made in ODI cricket and attribute it to PSL which I'll address. Are we not scoring 300+ more regularly ? Has our RPO not increased ? Has our ranking not improved from 9th where we struggling to qualify for the World Cup under Waqar to finishing 5th in the WC only missing out on SFs on a technicality ? The W/L ratio vs nonminnows would be even higher had I discounted 5 of those defeats with a B team to Australia. No 0.7 is not worldbeating, but miles better than before.

    Mickey does not appoint the captain, and last time I checked it was Sarfraz who called Hafeez and Malik the "backbone" of the team, and wanted them at the World Cup.

    Now regarding PSL. To be blunt, it's a rubbish league full of over the hill players and journeymen played on substandard UAE pitches. If anything, Pakistan should select LESS from PSL which has thrown up mediocre players like Nawaz, Asif, Talat, Shadab and Fahim. The recent players who have delivered for us in internationals like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail have strong domestic records. PSL is not some magic wand.

    Ultimately the REAL question is are we better off now than we were three years ago ? That's the yardstick, and while we are strugging in Tests (due to loss of MisYou and a dreadful FC system), we are undoubtedly a stronger side in one day cricket but with more improvements to make.

  23. #23
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    Pakistan has become a really fantastic LOI side under Arthur. They no longer get involved in unnecessary controversies like they used to do.

    Test form suffered but that was primarily because of retirements of Misbah and YK.


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweep_shot View Post
    Pakistan has become a really fantastic LOI side under Arthur. They no longer get involved in unnecessary controversies like they used to do.

    Test form suffered but that was primarily because of retirements of Misbah and YK.
    It's hard to say that given the behavior of some of our players prior to the India match. Here is your biggest rival, the one you never get to play, and the night before you're out partying and eating bad food? Mind you, I don't attribute that wholly to Arthur. These players are adults who should have matured by now. Moreover, sarfraz did nothing to show he was a good leader. He's a person that seems to want to lead from the front, but doesn't set the tone with his fitness and preparation beforehand. I'm quite aghast that he's remaining as captain while Arthur is gone.

    Arthur's biggest weakness was his failure to try and adjust to the team he had. Other than shadab khan and Haris Sohail, who are essentially all rounders, no young spinners were tested in any of the squads. Mind you, spin isn't quite as necessary when you're touring SENA, but that's the state of affairs.

    If I had to name a point when things started going south, it was at the departure of Steve Rixon. He is clearly the fielding coach that Pakistan needed and that is the one place where improvement disappeared in his absence.

    Strong fielding is a weapon in the hands of the bowling attack. When bowlers can trust their fields, it builds a great deal of pressure on the batsman. It cuts off safety valves. It produces wickets that stop the opposition short. Our NRR would have been much better with quality fielding.

    Batting wasn't the problem during Arthur's tenure. Bowling was not always the problem either. But fielding-right after Rixon left, it started going down, right to us crashing out of the world cup yet another time.

  25. #25
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    Mickey will be missed but his true worth ( or not) will only be realized based on future results.

    I still feel, the change in selectors was the only change that was needed.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Mickey will be missed but his true worth ( or not) will only be realized based on future results.

    I still feel, the change in selectors was the only change that was needed.
    Apart from Test side he was doing a good job overall. PCB needed to hire someone like Misbah as mentor/advisor with the test team.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Mickey will be missed but his true worth ( or not) will only be realized based on future results.

    I still feel, the change in selectors was the only change that was needed.
    Pakistan committed a blunder. This will be realized soon. Tremendous improvements happened under Mickey. Pakistan's famous fast bowling got revived. Youngsters like Babar and Haris came into their own. Champions Trophy was won against us. Pakistan drew in England - twice. Of course the test tactics in UAE were awful like playing with just single spinner. But Mickey's absence will be felt. The next coaches of Pakistan should ensure the passion and enthusiasm remain.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweep_shot View Post
    Pakistan has become a really fantastic LOI side under Arthur. They no longer get involved in unnecessary controversies like they used to do.

    Test form suffered but that was primarily because of retirements of Misbah and YK.
    Even without MisYou we should not have been losing test series in UAE to Kiwis and SL. simply not acceptable.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amjid Javed View Post
    Even without MisYou we should not have been losing test series in UAE to Kiwis and SL. simply not acceptable.
    poor tactics.. also poor understanding of the conditions and play style from mickey


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