Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur now says tight security affecting team's WC performance

Sports Friday 03/November/2023 20:57 PM
Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur now says tight security affecting team's WC performance

Bengaluru: After creating a flutter and raising hackles of the cricket fraternity with his take on the lack of crowd support for his team, Pakistan's team director Mickey Arthur on Friday talked himself into a fresh controversy, claiming that the heavy security cover around them has impacted the team ahead of their make-or-break World Cup clash against New Zealand.

Even as his team lurched from one defeat to the other, hurting their prospects of going deep in the quadrennial showpiece, Mickey came up with several bizarre reasons behind his team's underwhelming showing in the tournament.

After coming out on the losing side of the high-octane clash with India, Arthur lamented the lack of support for his boys and not enough numbers in the stands chanting 'Dil Dil Pakistan', saying that the match felt like a "BCCI event".

"Look, I'd be lying if I said it did [not affect us]. It didn't seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event. I didn't hear Dil Dil Pakistan coming through the microphones too often tonight," Pakistan's team director said.

He claimed the partisan fans in the stands at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad favoured the 'Men In Blue'.

Coming up with their bizarre reasoning on Friday, Arthur said because of the large number of security escorts around them, they are unable to go out and enjoy themselves, strengthening the team bonding.

He said the majority of the players are visiting India for the first time in their careers, and an opportunity to be out and about across venues would have helped in the team gelling together for the World Cup clashes.

"What has been tough is the fact that we've been under a massive amount of security. So, I've sort of taken it back. And to be fair, I found it difficult. It's almost like we've been back in the COVID times, where you were almost secluded to your floor and your team room. So much so that their breakfast is in a separate room to everybody else. So, it's almost, that's been the tough aspect," Arthur said at the pre-match press conference on Friday, on the eve of their clash against New Zealand.

"The aspect about being on the road is, our boys are used to it. But when they're on the road, they've still been able to get out and go and have meals, etc., at different places, and get out on their own accord where we haven't been able to do this time. And that's been tough. That has been quite stifling," Pakistan's team director added.

He claimed that not featuring in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has also been a disadvantage for his squad.

The majority of the players from different teams have had the opportunity to play on Indian surfaces and rub shoulders with top-class opponents in the cash-rich domestic T20 league.

Pat Cummins, David Miller, Kane Williamson, and David Warner are among the prominent overseas players to have turned out for IPL franchises.

Mickey pointed out that even though his players, most of whom have no previous experience of playing in India, are delighted to play in iconic cricketing arenas such as the Eden Gardens, the lack of experience has hindered their performances.

"That's a good question, but I just see the headline now. No excuse, but it has been. And the interesting thing has been that every ground we've been to has been a new venue for our players, which is exciting. The players have really embraced that and they've enjoyed that fact because they've watched IPL on TV and they've seen test matches at iconic grounds like Eden Gardens, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai. So, for them to play it, it's been really exciting for them. Of course, it is the first time they're playing there, so it has taken a little bit to get used to the conditions," Arthur added.