KARACHI: Pakistan’s marquee October 15 clash against arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad might be huge from perspective of fans on both sides of the border but it is certainly not the ”be all and end all” from cricketing point of view, reckons Team Director and head coach Mickey Arthur.
Arthur understands the hype surrounding the clash but for him, it will be like any other game where one would gain or lose two points.
”I don’t think Pakistan and India is the be all of the World Cup,” Arthur told a Pakistani YouTube channel ‘Cricket Baaz’.
”From a fan’s perspective, from the viewpoint of the emotions and relations between the two countries, one can understand the interest it generates and emotions that go with it. But from a cricket point of view I think it will be about doing well against all teams if you want to win the World Cup,” the South African added. Arthur was intent on playing down the pressure quotient and in fact has already started the mental games stating that pressure would be on India.
”The expectations from the Indian team will be very high in the World Cup. They are a good side and how well they perform will depend on their ability to absorb the pressure that will come from playing at home,” he said.
Arthur said he was also looking forward to the game but to see how Pakistan can cope with the pressure.
The Australian coach also insisted that the Pakistan team management had not pushed for their match against Afghanistan at Chennai to be played in Bengaluru.
”Yes, we had a discussion on it but it was just a discussion. It was not as if our entire plans hinged on not playing Afghanistan in Chennai. Look, any team would want to play Afghanistan at some other venue.”
He conceded that the impression generated by the news that Pakistan had asked for a switch in venues against Afghanistan and Australia didn’t go down well and gave a negative feeling about the Pakistan team.
Arthur, who has coached the Pakistan team before between 2016 and 2019, also confirmed he had told the former PCB chairman that he wanted to have Babar Azam as captain.
Asked if he had taken a stand for Babar when rumours were rife that former PCB chairman Najam Sethi and some people around him wanted a change in captaincy, Arthur confirmed he spoke to Sethi and conveyed that Babar had developed well as a leader.
”Babar is a matter of pride for me. The way he has developed as a world class batsman and matured as a leader.”
”Our entire new philosophy of playing cricket the ‘The Pakistani Way’ revolves around Babar. He is in total sync with me and the rest of the management that this is how we need to now play our cricket.” Explaining the ”The Pakistani Way”, Arthur said it was all about playing as a unit and believing in one’s self.
”It is about everyone knowing that I and the rest of the management totally back Babar in whatever decision he takes and about everyone being there to watch each other’s back.
”And it is also about obviously going all the way and not holding back on the field. Pakistan has immense talent and on its day it can beat any team anywhere,” Arthur concluded.
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