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‘Why do we need foreign coaches?’ – Shahid Afridi criticises reported Mickey Arthur ‘online coaching’ plan

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Shahid Afridi, until recently Pakistan’s interim chief selector, has criticised a reported PCB plan to have Mickey Arthur oversee the national team in a remote capacity.

Several news outlets have suggested that Najam Sethi, recently installed as PCB chair, is planning to make Arthur the ‘online coach’ of the Pakistan team. It’s not clear exactly what form this role will take, with ESPNcricinfo reporting that Arthur will be team director, rather than head coach.

Arthur, a respected figure on the international coaching circuit, is currently in post at Derbyshire, and while there have been links between him and the PCB in recent months, he is understood to be reluctant to leave that job. Pakistan have undergone a turbulent stretch, with mixed results including a winless 2022 in home Tests but also a run to the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup finals. Arthur previously led Pakistan from 2016-19


According to ESPNcricinfo, Arthur would oversee the appointments of several trusted staff, watching over proceedings from afar with no designated head coach.

Afridi has expressed his displeasure at the plan, questioning why there is no candidate from within Pakistan being considered. “I just read the news about online coaching – I don’t understand how such coaching will be done,” he said, speaking in Urdu. “It is their plan, but this online system I am not able to understand. Why do we need foreign coaches? There are people in your own country – I know that PCB sees people getting involved in politics and liking/disliking [certain players]. I feel that there are many people who understand how big a responsibility this is.

“I feel, cricket needs to be kept away from politics as much as possible, and good, strong decisions need to be taken. Only then will your team be able to perform in the future. But it’s not necessary that a coach needs to be a foreigner. We have people in Pakistan who can lead the team. What is coaching really? It’s man-management. It’s not a difficult job.”

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