Arthur hopes for an end to Pakistan exile


Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur is hopeful that the hard work of the Pakistan Cricket Board in conjunction with the government will see international cricket return.

The Asian nation have hosted no international cricket, except a limited over series against Zimbabwe in 2015, since an attack on the Sri Lankan team bus was carried out by militants in Lahore in March 2009.

A World XI had looked set to visit the country driven by the ICC who are eager to offer more support for Pakistan but a bomb blast in Lahore earlier this week has left that series in doubt.

The South African coach believes that the PCB have done everything within their power to ensure cricket can return to a country rocked by political instability.

Arthur told AFP: “The isolation is very hard on Pakistan cricket.

“The PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) is doing an unbelievable job in trying to resurrect international cricket. “I just hope the World XI tour goes ahead and that will almost be the curtain raiser to, hopefully, get some international cricket back.”

Arthur lamented the fact that Pakistan are perpetual tourists forced to play ‘home’ games in the neutral venue of the United Arab Emirates.

He added: “Every international match we play as a unit we are playing effectively away from home, away from our own conditions and that makes it doubly difficult.

“I definitely think it affects all cricket. The first-class cricketers in Pakistan are not able to see their stars playing at home and are not able to lift their standards so it’s a vicious circle.”

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Arthur fondly remembers visiting Pakistan as Proteas coach in 2007 earning a hard fought and historic series win.

The coach hopes the Champions Trophy triumph helps change the perceptions about Pakistan.

He went on: “I think Pakistan was always a destination where it was hard to come and win. I was the coach of the South African team which came here in 2007.

“We won the Test and one-day series and that was a massive win and achievement because not many sides had come and won in Pakistan.”