Pakistan’s second-dig collapse in the 1st Test against South Africa triggered a verbal slugfest between the coach and the captain with Mickey Arthur allegedly hurling profanities at senior batsmen, according to sources.
Chasing Pakistan’s unimpressive total of 180 in their first innings of the Centurion Test, South Africa secured a 42-run lead on the second day before Pakistan eased to 101 for 1 and then imploded after tea to be bowled out for 190.
The Proteas are all set to win the Test as they will need to chase just 149 on Friday to win the match in three days. Coach Mickey Arthur was incensed by the poor show of Pakistani batsmen, sources told on the phone from Centurion.
When the team gathered in the dressing room, Arthur started yelling at Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and batsmen Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali.
In a fit of anger, Arthur threw things, slammed doors, and banged walls, according to sources. He believed that Pakistan has squandered away a golden opportunity to clinch a Test series against South Africa on their soil.
Coach Mickey Arthur was angry at the collapse of Pakistani batting line-up following a comparatively better start. He accused the batsmen of giving away their wickets, sources said.
They added that the ugly incident was reported to Ehsan Mani, the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), who is also in Centurion.
Given the nature of the angry brawl, the management might have to sack either Coach Mickey Arthur or Captain Sarfraz Ahmed, according to sources. However, the management is unlikely to take such a decision until the end of the ongoing series.
The incident might have severe impact on the team’s performance in the coming days as it might result in the sacking of either the head coach or the captain, source added.
It should be noted here that Sarfraz, Asad and Azhar managed to score just 49 runs combine in both innings during the match.
Pakistan’s top order had looked much more assured in the second innings, with Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman erasing South Africa’s lead before Imam paired with Shan Masood in a 57-run second-wicket stand that put Pakistan in the comfortable position of 100 for 1 at tea, a lead of 58.
But when Imam fell in the opening moments of the evening session, South Africa had their opening. Azhar Ali got himself in an awful muddle attempting a pull at a Duanne Olivier bouncer, spooning a catch at short midwicket to fall to the third ball he faced.
Dale Steyn quickly won his battle with a flat-footed Asad Shafiq, but it was Rabada who tore through the lower-middle order, nipping Babar Azam, Sarfraz and Mohammad Amir out in successive overs. While Babar was undone by a peach of a delivery, Sarfraz chased a ball outside off and Amir was castled by one that kept low.
Mickey Arthur, who has also coached South Africa and Australia in the past, had also developed differences with players in the two teams. In the past, Pakistani batsman Umar Akmal had also accused Arthur of hurling profanities at players.