Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Lahore [Pakistan], January 31 (ANI): Mickey Arthur and the (Pakistan Cricket Board) PCB are nearing an agreement that will see Arthur return to the Pakistan men's squad, albeit as team director rather than as a head coach.

Three weeks before the PCB's announcement that it was pressing forward with its search for a successor to Saqlain Mushtaq, the departing Pakistan coach, talks between the two parties had ended.

Given that Arthur had a long-term contract with Derbyshire that he did not wish to cancel, the two parties had been unable to come to an agreement on how such a post could function. But the temporary chairman of the PCB, Najam Sethi, said last week that he was still looking for Arthur.

A deal will soon be finalised, and Arthur might take over as team director on April 1 as per ESPNcricinfo.

This title, one in which Arthur will serve as a consultant rather than the team's head coach, will result in an unorthodox management system, at least on a global scale, in which he won't go with Pakistan's team on every outing but will instead delegate responsibility for running things to a hand-selected group of support personnel.

Grant Bradburn, a former Pakistani fielding coach and former director of their High-Performance Center, is slated to serve as the team's top assistant coach and serve as a leader among the support personnel. There won't be a typical head coach, but there will be three coaches for batting, bowling, and fielding.

Arthur will not be deeply participating with the team during the English county season; Pakistan, for instance, will tour Sri Lanka in July and will host the Asia Cup in September.

However, following the conclusion of the county season, Arthur is anticipated to travel with the team for important events like the ODI World Cup in India in October-November of this year and the Test tour of Australia later in the winter. One of the issues still being resolved is the contract's term, but both parties agree that Pakistan's timeline is such that such an agreement is feasible.

Between 2016 and 2019, Arthur served as the Pakistan team's head coach. During this time, the team had a largely successful run in white-ball cricket, winning the Champions Trophy in 2017 and transforming their limited-overs teams.

Following a disappointing performance in the 2016 T20 World Cup, Arthur helped a T20 team led by Sarfaraz Ahmed turn things around and elevate them to the top of the ICC rankings, where they had lagged behind other Full Members.

There were also significant Test results, however, it was more difficult to change the red-ball side. Pakistan nearly missed making it to the World Cup's last four due to one significant early loss, and Misbah-ul-Haq quickly replaced Arthur.

More critically, Arthur's comeback will allow him to reconnect with a number of players, including captain Babar Azam, whose growth he helped shape in his last term. Babar had a difficult transition into Test cricket, but Arthur stayed with him and witnessed his ascent with the white ball.

Others have also discussed the influence Arthur has had on their careers, including Sarfaraz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, and Shadab Khan. After his employment in Pakistan, Arthur spent some time in Sri Lanka. Since then, he has worked for Derbyshire. (ANI)

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