Pakistan thumped India by 180 runs in the final to lift their maiden Champions Trophy title. This was also their first 50-over trophy which they bagged after a long gap of 25 years. For a country that has not played international cricket at home against any top cricketing nation, the Champions Trophy triumph was necessary to “identify their heroes”, feels Pakistan’s chief coach Mickey Arthur.
The South African is hopeful, just like his skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, that this victory will usher a new era in the country’s cricket.
“Look, I think it’ll be massive (implication of this victory). I really do. I hope that - and I am sure that the nation of Pakistan is really happy because they deserve it,” the coach said after the match.
Ever since a terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team’s bus in 2009, no major cricketing nation has toured Pakistan for a series and they had to play all their ‘home’ matches outside the country. Zimbabwe is the only nation to have toured Pakistan, two years ago.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to send a World XI to Pakistan in September and Arthur hoped it will pave the way for future tours.
“We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games,” he said. “So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope.”
Arthur, like others, also want that cricket-loving fans in Pakistan, get to see their heroes play international matches.
“The players have gone through a lot. And not only for the players but also for the fans, who have not been able to identify with their heroes, because they just don’t get to watch international cricket at home. This victory is massive for the country. So let’s hope that this really kick-starts that momentum in Pakistan again,” Arthur sounded hopeful.
He has been the South African coach on five occasions when the team lost in semi-finals of various ICC events but this triumph was not about him.
“Certainly, it’s not about me and my career but it’s about 15 unbelievable players in that dressing room, who have been absolutely fantastic for the past year. So that’s what it should be about. But it is, you know, it really is,” a smiling Arthur said.
“Oh, it sort of feels surreal really, to be honest. I was telling somebody the other day that I have had five semi-finals with South Africa and never got to a final. I got to one final with Pakistan and eventually got a medal!
“So that’s fantastic. But the credit goes to the players.
They have been brilliant, and my fellow coaching staff and management team have been fantastic, as well.”
(With PTI Inputs)