Mickey Arthur, the former South African coach now in charge of Pakistan, expressed some empathy for his former employers despite his obvious elation after his side secured a 49-run victory at Lord’s on Wednesday. DANIEL GALLAN reports.
‘I watch South Africa with a real fondness and they are my second team without a doubt,’ Arthur said after Wednesday’s encounter. ‘So, it is sad for me. I listened to Faf [du Plessis] and it’s a team that’s just a little bit short on confidence. Every team goes through that.’
Arthur knows all about the struggles of leading a team grasping for form. As head coach of Pakistan, he has experienced the highs and lows that his erratic team regularly provides. He urged fans in South Africa to stick with the team.
‘I think now is a time to just try to get behind those boys,’ Arthur said. ‘They are trying incredibly hard. I know what they are going through. I had a quick chat with Gibbo [coach Ottis Gibson] after the game. It’s really tough where they are.
‘They will be going to training every day hurting like any other team hurts, and trying to get it right. I feel deeply disappointed for them at the moment.’
Arthur was with the Proteas from 2005-10 and helped shape that side into the best Test team in the world. He worked with notable alumni such as Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher. He knows better than most that confidence is not something that is easy to come by.
‘It happens so quick,’ he said when asked how confidence can fluctuate at the elite level. ‘You lose a game, you lose another game, it’s a World Cup, the media scrutiny, the public expectation; then it’s survival mode. We’ve all been there.’
With this victory Pakistan stay alive in the competition as their slim hopes of a semi-final spot remain intact. For that to happen, certain results must go their way. More importantly, they must win each of their remaining games against New Zealand, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
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