PAK v SA 2018-19

This statement by Pakistan’s batting coach has raised many questions

KARACHI: Pakistan cricket batting coach Grant Flower has expressed his concerns over the team’s dressing room environment in the wake of Pakistan’s defeat against South Africa at Centurion.

Flower, in an interview to ESPNcricinfo, said that due to the recent shambolic loss a number of players’ spots in the national team are under threat.

“The atmosphere isn’t the best at the moment,” the batting coach said. “Not many losing teams’ atmosphere will be the best. No one likes to lose. You don’t want to become happy losers. I’m not involved in selection, but there are quite a few guys with their places under threat. It’s not just one or two batsmen, you could point fingers at a few players.”

Flower’s statement came in the backdrop of a dressing room leak that coach Mickey Arthur had lost his temper with the players, after Pakistan’s dramatic batting collapse in the first Test. The coach reportedly exchanged harsh words with senior middle-order batsmen including skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Mickey had some strong words with the players; there was quite a bit of honesty from him. I think the guys were a bit shell-shocked, but they’ve heard Mickey, everyone knows he can come down harshly on the boys at times, said Flower.

Sometimes that’s needed and the guys needed to be told a few home truths. Mickey won’t be the first or last coach to do that. If the guys do have strong character, they’ll bounce back from it and take that as a challenge, Flower added.

The batting coach expressed his disappointment over the leak, and admitted that there have been leaks from the dressing room since he joined the team so it didn’t surprise him.

“We don’t know who it is [the leaker]. But they’ve got to look at themselves in the mirror. It should never happen. On tour it’s all about teamwork, you’re supposed to be a family and trust each other. But I’ve been with the team over four years and there have been constant leaks all the time. It’s nothing new for me, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise.

Earlier, The Pakistan team management led by Manager Talat Ali have strongly refuted the baseless allegations levelled against Head Coach Mickey Arthur on his supposed ‘angry behaviour’ at the end of Day two of the ongoing Test match against South Africa in Centurion.

As per the norm, Arthur held a debriefing meeting at the end of the day’s play which was held in a cordial atmosphere with inputs from team members and management as is the usual practice.

Any speculation about coach’s angry behaviour towards the players is grossly exaggerated.

The head coach, team management, captain and all team members are totally united with a singular aim of producing positive results.

The team manager and rest of the management hopes that media would refrain from speculating on the matter.

Earlier a well-informed source told Cricket Pakistan that Arthur lost his cool during the meeting after the day’s play and openly criticised seniors – captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq – for their irresponsible batting performances.

The source also confirmed that Arthur abused the senior trio openly and threw things at them in anger, slammed doors and banged walls while showing disappointment for letting go what he believed was a golden chance of claiming a famous win in South Africa.

Arthur also accused the players for intentionally getting out cheaply during the second innings.

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