Former Pakistan head coach, Mickey Arthur says leaving out pacer Mohammad Amir from T20 World Cup squad would be detrimental to team’s title chances.
Amir had quit Test cricket last year, a decision that did not go down well with the team management.
It led to speculations that the pacer may be ignored when the squad is picked for the World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia later this year.
“I wouldn’t imagine Pakistan going to the World T20 without Amir. He is a match-winner. If you leave him out of the fray you potentially are sacrificing chances of winning the tournament,” Arthur said in an interview on a YouTube cricket channel.
He also didn’t agree that Amir and Wahab Riaz had let down the team by retiring from red-ball cricket in haste.
“Amir spoke to me about it and he kept me in the loop on his decision. We discussed it many times. But maybe I was too hard on him playing him in every Test I could. I could see he was losing his hunger for test cricket and his body was not able to handle the pressure of three formats.”
“Amir is a top-class bowler and a match-winner. I love to watch him bowl. But by deciding to leave Test cricket I think he has given himself a chance of extending his white-ball career.”
About Wahab he said the experienced bowler had also taken the right decision.
Pakistan cricket reacted angrily to the announcements by Amir and Wahab last year that they were not available for red-ball cricket. Head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach, Waqar Younis had said they let down Pakistan cricket.
There have been doubts over whether Misbah would allow both in the national team even for white-ball cricket but Arthur who coached Pakistan from 2016 to 2019 till last year’s World Cup said it would be a big mistake not selecting Amir.
Arthur and his support staff were released by the Pakistan Cricket Board from their contracts after the World Cup on the recommendations of the PCB’s cricket committee which included Wasim Akram and Misbah.
Misbah later took over as head coach and chief selector, the first time this has happened in Pakistan cricket.
Arthur also dismissed reports that he and former chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq didn’t get along.
“We had a very good working relationship and they were no major rifts between us.”
Arthur described coaching the Pakistan team as a fulfilling period of his career.
“The thing about Pakistan cricket is that the people are so emotionally attached to the game. Either you are king or you are down there. There is no middle way. I loved and hated that facet off Pakistan cricket. But I think people need to be patient you can’t get instant results. You need to give chances to new players to find their feet.”
He said the only way forward for Pakistan cricket was to rely and develop on the group of young players he had spotted and tried to groom in his tenure.
“Pakistan has some wonderful young players, Fakhar Zaman, Imam ul Haq, Haris Sohail, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and of course Babar Azam. I think this is the core of players Misbah should depend on to carry Pakistan cricket forward.”
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