Mickey Arthur rejects offer to return as Pakistan head coach

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Mickey Arthur has spurned an offer from the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) to return as the head coach of the national team, forcing the board to continue its search to find a replacement for incumbent Saqlain Mushtaq.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday said it was in discussions with Arthur for a new stint as head coach but the South African won’t be able to take up the role right away as he has a long-term contract with Derbyshire.

“Owing to his long-term contract with Derbyshire, we have also discussed a proposal to act as a consultant to the PCB on a time-sharing basis with Derbyshire,” PCB said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, however, this option is proving difficult to materialise for various reasons on both sides. Under the circumstances, the PCB will continue its search for the right person to fit the slot of the national team head coach and some top names are already under consideration.”

A highly well-placed source in the board told PTI that Arthur is not coming because of the unreliable environment in Pakistan cricket, something which he has experienced in the past.

“The truth is when the PCB Chairman, Najam Sethi, opened talks with him and told him to rejoin as the head coach, Arthur said while he would very much like to work in Pakistan cricket again he had not had pleasant experiences in the past with the board,” the source said.

“Arthur told Sethi that the PCB management led by Ehsan Mani during the World Cup in 2019 had assured him his contract would be extended. But after Pakistan didn’t make the semifinals despite winning four matches on a trot his contract was not honoured.

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“Secondly, Arthur also had apprehensions that even if he ended his long-term contract with Derbyshire with mutual agreement and decided to come to Pakistan, there was no guarantee his contract would be honoured given the environment in Pakistan cricket.”

The source said Arthur had told Sethi he would, however, be willing to work as a consultant with the Pakistan board and also frequently visit the country.

“But eventually this consultancy arrangement didn’t suit the PCB so talks fell through and Mickey is not going to be involved with Pakistan cricket.”

Arthur was brought in as head coach in 2016 when Sethi was in the board and worked until 2019 when his contract was not extended by the management headed by Mani.

Another reliable source said that the contracts/tenures of current head coach Mushtaq and bowling coach, Shaun Tait and even the interim selection committee headed by Shahid Afridi would end on Friday after the third ODI against New Zealand.

“Since Pakistan doesn’t have any international commitments now until April, Sethi has two months now to finalize a new team management and selection committee for the Pakistan team.”

The source confirmed that Sethi was in talks with two foreign coaches for a long-term contract and it was decided that a foreign coach would only be appointed now for the national team.

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