LAHORE: Mickey Arthur has been coaching the Pakistan cricket team since May 2016, and the country and its culture have well and truly bowled him over.
In an exclusive conversation with Geo News, the Champions Trophy-winning coach shared his love for Pakistan.
“I’ve been very impressed by the [Pakistani] culture. It’s a culture where there is a lot of respect. The [players] respect elders and senior people in the dressing room, which is something different from where I come from,” he said.
“The guys are outstanding and their values and morals are brilliant.”
For Arthur, there is no fear of the country. “I have never, ever felt threatened or anything in Pakistan. In fact, I have felt a lot of love,” he said.
Showing off his hard-learned Urdu skills, the coach said he knows words like ‘pani’ (water) and ‘shukria’ (thanks).
“..and a couple of other words which I cannot say on TV,” he laughed.
Asked how he finds the historical city of Lahore, Arthur was all praise.
“It [Lahore] is a very multicultural city. We haven’t gotten out as much as I would like to. There are some very good restaurants..”
Which, of course, brings up the inevitable question of Biryani.
“I have had a lot of Biryani,” he said. “But I am trying to get the players off too much Biryani because it’s not good for their [health]!” (Tough challenge, that one, Mickey).
Reminded about his bet with Shadab Khan, which the prodigious teenager won after hitting three half-centuries in a row during the recent UK tour, Arthur laughed out loud.
“He [Shadab] keeps reminding me about that. They [players] do prank a little bit with me but they know where the [line] is. There is still a line between the coach and players.”
When Geo News asked Shadab about the bet, the all-rounder was ready with a witty response. “I did win a bet against Mickey but I did not eat the food because I was fasting at that time. I want to eat in Dubai because food is expensive there,” he said.
On the controversy created in the aftermath of a recent interview by Umar Akmal, Arthur said he had no intentions of creating any more headlines.
“I am not going to make any more headlines. I am going to keep quiet.
“There are some very good journalists [in Pakistani media], but there are some troublemakers also,” he added.