Real cricbuzz prediction: Mickey Arthur appointed as Pakistan team manager

Mickey Arthur and PCB are nearing an agreement under which Arthur will return to the Pakistani men’s team as team director instead of head coach as before. It announced that it continues to search for a replacement for Pakistani coach Saqlain Mushtaq.

Arthur had a long-term contract with Derbyshire and he did not want to terminate it, and the two sides had not come to an agreement on how such a role would work. But last week, PCB interim chief Najam Sethi announced that the hunt for Arthur is continuing. ESPNcricinfo understands that Arthur is almost done with his deal as he could take over as his director with the team on April 1st.

That designation, one in which Arthur will be a consultant rather than head coach, will make for an unusual management structure – at international level at least – in which he will not be with the Pakistan team on every tour but will have a handpicked group of support staff running operations. Lead among the support staff is expected to be former Pakistan fielding coach – and one-time head of their High Performance Centre – Grant Bradburn, in the role of a high-powered assistant coach. There will also be three coaches for batting, bowling and fielding, but no traditional head coach.

During the English county season, Arthur will not be hands on with the team; Pakistan tour Sri Lanka this July for instance and are scheduled to host the Asia Cup in September. But once the county season is over, Arthur is expected to be with the side at high-profile commitments such as the ODI World Cup in India in October-November this year and the Test tour of Australia later in the winter. The length of such an agreement is one point yet to be resolved, but both sides believe Pakistan’s schedule is set for such an agreement to work.

His one of the more interesting appointments under Arthur, who is general manager of PSL franchise Islamabad United and a prominent broadcast analyst, could be that of Rehan Ul-Haq. On paper, he’s expected to be a team manager, but with far broader powers than the more traditional administrative role of a manager. This role could be similar to Arthur’s Chief of Staff driving a team environment. Rehan is also one of those who created a data-driven approach in the PSL with his two-time champion Islamabad United.

Arthur was the head coach of the Pakistani side from 2016 until 2019, when he was the overall head of his streak in Whiteball, including his trophy win in the 2017 Champions and conversion of a limited surplus team. Successful. After a poor performance at the 2016 T20 World Cup, falling behind the rest of the full squad, Arthur helped transform the T20 side led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, pushing them to number one in the ICC rankings. The Red Ball side proved to be more difficult to convert, but it also had some notable test results. A heavy early defeat at the 2019 World Cup prevented Pakistan from advancing to the last four of the event, and Arthur was replaced by Misbah-ul-Haq shortly thereafter.

More importantly, Arthur’s return will see him reunite with many of the players he played a key role in developing in his first season. Arthur stayed with Babar throughout his difficult introduction to cricket in Tests and oversaw his white ball rise. Sarfaraz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and others have also spoken about Arthur’s influence on their careers. After working in Pakistan, Arthur worked in Sri Lanka and has been in Derbyshire ever since.

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