Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur has been criticized by former cricketers and fans for his bizarre and controversial comment on the atmosphere and the arrangement at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad after Pakistan’s humiliating defeat against India in World Cup 2023.
Arthur complains about partisan crowd and lack of Pakistani music
Arthur, who was appointed as the team director in January 2023, said that he felt like the World Cup match was a “BCCI event than ICC” as there was no Pakistani music played at the venue and the crowd was overwhelmingly in favour of India. He also said that the absence of Pakistani fans, who were not granted visas to travel to India, affected his team’s performance.
“It didn’t seem like an ICC event, to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; like a BCCI event,” Arthur said after the match.
Pakistan coach Grand Bradburn echoed Arthur’s sentiments and said that it did not feel like a World Cup game. He also expressed his disappointment that they did not do justice to the occasion or their fans at home and globally.
Former cricketers and fans slam Arthur for making excuses
Arthur’s remark did not go down well with the cricket fraternity, especially former players and fans from both India and Pakistan. They accused him of making excuses for Pakistan’s poor performance and not giving credit to India’s superior display.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that Arthur should focus on improving his team’s skills rather than complaining about external factors. He also mocked Arthur for his previous stint as the coach of South Africa, where he had a fallout with some senior players.
“Maybe he should go back to coaching South Africa, where he had problems with some of the players. Maybe he should sort out those issues first before talking about the atmosphere here,” Gavaskar said.
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram also lashed out at Arthur for his “unprofessional” and “irresponsible” comment. He said that Arthur should take responsibility for Pakistan’s dismal performance and not blame India for their own shortcomings.
“He should be ashamed of himself for saying such things. He is the team director, not a fan. He should be professional and responsible. He should accept that Pakistan were outplayed by India in all departments and work on their weaknesses instead of blaming India for their own failures,” Akram said.
Many fans also took to social media to express their anger and disappointment at Arthur’s remark. Some called him a “cry baby” and a “sore loser”, while others asked him to resign from his post.
ICC responds to Arthur’s criticism
Amid the backlash, ICC chairman Greg Barclay responded to Arthur’s criticism and downplayed it as mere feedback that every World Cup edition faces. He said that ICC will review what could be done better and how to improve World Cups and the general offering around cricket.
“Every event that we have, there’s always criticisms from various quarters. Things that perhaps we’ll take away and try to work on, try to do better… so this event’s only [at] the start. Let’s see how the whole thing plays out and we’ll go away and we’ll review what could change, what we can do better, how we can improve World Cups and the general offering around cricket,” Barclay said.
He also expressed his satisfaction that the World Cup will be an outstanding event despite some challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pakistan still in contention for semi-finals
Despite their loss against India, Pakistan are still in contention for the semi-finals of the World Cup. They are currently fourth in the points table with two wins and a loss in three games. They had earlier defeated Netherlands and Sri Lanka in their opening matches.
Pakistan will face Australia, who have also won two out of three games, in their next match in Bengaluru on October 20. They will then take on New Zealand and Bangladesh in their remaining group games.
Pakistan will hope to bounce back from their defeat against India and qualify for the knockouts for the first time since 2011.