Pakistan coach Arthur plays down return to Australia
CAIRNS: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur remains ill at ease with the spotlight shining on his return to Australia and cannot wait for the focus to shift to cricket, the 48-year-old said on Monday.
Arthur’s 19-month tenure as Australia coach came to an acrimonious end weeks before the 2013 Ashes series, following a collapse in team discipline and prompting a high-profile severance claim against his former employers Cricket Australia.
The South African is now busy plotting the downfall of his former charges in a three-test series beginning in Brisbane on Thursday.
“This series isn’t about me against Australia,” Arthur told reporters. “It’s about two very good cricket teams going head-to-head and I hope that can be the focus for the remainder of the tour for that is what it is.”
Asked if he wanted to prove that Cricket Australia made a mistake by sacking him, Arthur said: “Of course there’s a part of me that feels that. I’d not be honest if I say otherwise.
“I always maintain that I loved the first year and a bit of it, it was outstanding and I felt we made some significant progress.”
Australia paceman Mitchell Starc has already sent down a bouncer in Arthur’s direction, saying the current team were a lot “closer” under coach Darren Lehmann.
“It’s actually great to hear,” Arthur said. “I’m not beating around the bush when I say the team wasn’t very close during those times, but that was because of different characters.
“It was a largely insecure time for the players as well because there was a lot of changes that was coming about…”
Arthur is naturally in a position to offer Pakistan inside information but the onus would be on the players, he said, to exploit them.
“We’ll be providing a whole lot of information… but the information is useless unless you put it into practice,” he said.
Judging by Nathan Lyon’s reaction, Australia were unconcerned by what Arthur may claim to know about the current crop.
“It’s a totally different group, to be honest,” the off-spinner said. “Only a couple of us played under Mickey Arthur. We are a new group. I’m not really concerned what Mickey Arthur is doing, to be honest.”