The Pakistan Cricket Board has denied speculations of verbal slugfest between Pakistan Head coach Mickey Arthur and his senior batsmen after Pakistan’s batting collapse in the ongoing Boxing Day Test at Centurion.
Pakistan were well-placed at tea on the second day of the first Test at 100 for 1 with a lead of 58 and two set batsmen in Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood. Imam, however, dragged one on in the first over after tea and, as has happened so often over the last couple of years, Pakistan's batting fell apart, failing even to survive the session.
Arthur is understood to have had, what several sources described variously as a ‘strong’ and ‘honest’ discussion with his batsmen. A few of the batsmen "were reminded of their responsibilities", according to a team source, though particular focus fell on the dismissals of the senior-most trio of captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.
Reports suggested the meeting was more than just heated, with words exchanged between Sarfraz and Arthur. There are even suggestions that equipment was thrown around but that has been denied by players and staff.
In its press release, PCB stated that no heated arguments were exchanged.
“Arthur held a debriefing meeting at the end of the day's play which was held in a cordial atmosphere with inputs from team members and management as is the usual practice.
“Any speculation about coach's angry behaviour towards the players is grossly exaggerated.”