Mickey Arthur was understandably excited about his first international home match for Pakistan, as the country took a big stride towards reviving big-time cricket in the country on Tuesday (September 12) with the first of three Twenty20 Internationals against a World XI side.
The ever-amiable Arthur, who took charge in May 2016, said the series will take Pakistan cricket forward.
“This is a great occasion and a festive one as people are excited about the return of international cricket in Pakistan,” Arthur told Wisden India. “The whole team is very excited for the World XI tour and am feeling specially privileged to be coaching a Pakistan team in Pakistan which is very exciting.
“We have been preparing for this tour and hopefully our guys are going to put on a show for the public of Pakistan and all those that I am sure will be filling the stadium to capacity in all matches.”
Arthur, whose team was playing their first match since winning the Champions Trophy 2017 in June, said tours of the sort undertaken by the World XI team were crucial for Pakistan.
“It is hopefully the start of regular visits into Pakistan from all the international teams and is an opportunity to showcase Pakistan and for people to see the safety is all good and most importantly for the outside public to see the passion for cricket in Pakistan,” he said.
“It gives the young cricketers of Pakistan the opportunity to see their heroes up close and to be able to interact with and aspire to be just like them. It also gives our players the opportunity of playing in front of friends and family, which they have not done for a very long time.
“I believe that we have some very good young players who need to be exposed to the rigours of international cricket. In the white-ball format we are building towards a World Cup in 2019 and we need to certainly broaden our base of players that are going to be competing for a spot in that World Cup.
“Our young players are very talented and are certainly the future and the sooner we can get them in and give them experience the better. We are also fortunate that we have some senior players who will be going to the World Cup and to have a good mixture of youth and experience is a good place to be.”
To that end, Arthur felt that the Champions Trophy title run would act as a big spur for the next generation of players. “I believe that every player that played in the Champions Trophy final can survive until the World Cup but competition for places is going to be stiff and that is a very lucky situation to be in,” he said. “It means that players’ currency is performance and to have players competing for spots has got to be good for standards and Pakistan cricket going forward.”