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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

More like an India event than Cup, says Pakistan's Mickey Arthur

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Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur took a dig at cricket’s governing body on Saturday, claiming the absence of support for his team in Ahmedabad’s 132,000-capacity stadium made the occasion look like “a BCCI event” rather than an international marquee match-up.

Pakistan fans were effectively banned from the ground after failing to secure visas to cross the border, leaving the arena awash with the blue shirts of India supporters as the hosts coasted to a seven-wicket victory.

Arthur’s team were backed only by a handful of expatriate Pakistan fans who had made the trip from the United States and United Kingdom.

Asked how much a factor the partisan crowd was against a “timid” Pakistan team, Arthur replied: “It didn’t seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest.

“It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) event.”

Arthur accused the public address system organisers of favouring India by refusing to play “Dil Dil Pakistan”, the nation’s unofficial anthem.

“I didn’t hear ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ (‘My heart is Pakistan’) coming through too often tonight.

“So yes, that does play a role, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse.”

Since the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India and Pakistan have not played a full bilateral series as New Delhi and Islamabad remain at diplomatic loggerheads.

India failed to issue visas to Pakistan fans despite them already having acquired Cup match tickets.

On the field on Saturday India were superior.

They bowled out Pakistan for a paltry 191 and then chased down the target with 19.3 overs to spare on the back of a brilliant 86 from skipper Rohit Sharma.

‘Too timid’

Arthur admitted his team let themselves down with only captain Babar Azam (50) and Mohammad Rizwan (49) contributing major runs.

“I thought we were a little bit timid,” said Arthur of the batting.

“I did think we could probably have taken on the Indian spinners just a little bit more.”

Five Indian bowlers — Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja — grabbed two wickets each as Pakistan folded in 42.5 overs having been 155-2 at one stage.

“I think we’ve got to realise that there are two ways to always skin a cat,” said Arthur.

“And we’ve had success by taking it deep and then cashing in at the back end but we couldn’t do that.”

With the win India extended their unbeaten record against Pakistan in Cups to 8-0, with Arther also involved as head coach in the 2019 event in the UK.

“I can only explain 2019 and this one,” said Arthur. “I think we were well beaten in both games.”

Head coach Grant Bradburn agreed with Arthur over the lack of Pakistan support.

“We are really sad that our supporters aren’t here,” said Bradburn.

“They would love to be here and I am sure Indian cricket fans would love our supporters here as well.”

He added: “No familiar music for us today. So it didn’t feel like a Cup game. We didn’t expect anything else.

“We love the occasion and we are disappointed that we did not do justice to the occasion or justice to our many fans at home and globally.”


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