No representation in IPL affecting Pak cricket: Shahid Afridi

Newly-appointed head coach Mickey Arthur on Pakistan's Twenty20 obstacles

Q. Some would say that you are mad to take on the job of the Pakistan cricket team's head coach. What appealed to you about the role?
A. What appeals to me is the actual challenge of it. I think it's a massive challenge and I do enjoy challenges for my sins. I think this is a challenge that is right up there and one where I feel like I can really make a difference.

Shahid Afridi during a practice session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in March. Pakistan fared poorly under the leadership of Afridi in the World Twenty20 in India earlier this year. Pic/PTI
Shahid Afridi during a practice session at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in March. Pakistan fared poorly under the leadership of Afridi in the World Twenty20 in India earlier this year. Pic/PTI

Q. It's widely recognised that the role of head coach of the Pakistan cricket team is one of the toughest jobs in the world due to external influences. Is this something that concerns you?
A. You just have to be able to block all of that out and I certainly will. I'm going there to do the best I possibly can for Pakistan cricket. I want to make this team as successful as it can be and I will not let external forces dictate how I go about doing my business and I will certainly be blocking out all that external noise.

Q. How do you intend to tackle the issue of ill discipline from some of the players you will be working with?
A. I just want to create an environment that allows the players to perform and I know that any environment with structure where there's proper values has got a far better chance of success than one that hasn't. So I'm going to create a culture that the players can go into and perform and where they also enjoy their cricket. I want to stimulate the players in the right way and ensure they are enjoying their cricket and perform. The important thing is that when people enjoy their cricket they get the best out of themselves.

Q. You will be working in tandem with three different captains. Do you think that makes your job more difficult?
A. Yes it does a little bit to be honest. We will assess that. I'll go in and have a look and discuss it with Inzamam-ul-Haq and see what he thinks is the best way forward and we'll go from there. Ideally, you want two captains as a maximum across the three formats. That's something we will look at, even if it's three different captains that can be fine.

Q. Do you think Shahid Afridi has a future in international cricket?
A. Shahid's been a fantastic player for Pakistan for many years so you don't discard phenomenal players like that very easily. If we think there is a role for him we will certainly bring him back but that's a discussion for the future and another time.

Q. Do you think Pakistan's struggles in 20-over cricket are partly down to the players not playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL)?
A. You learn such a lot from franchise cricket tournaments and I think that could be playing a large role. Yes it's probably right that not playing in the IPL could be affecting the performances of the Pakistan team in the 20-over format.

Q. Pakistan's cricket followers and the media are an impatient bunch. They will want instant improvement and a rise up the limited overs rankings. Are those acceptable and fair expectations?
A. It's certainly not going to happen overnight. It's a process that we are going to have to look over as we go along. We've got to put small goals in place first and get those small goals right and then we can start thinking about setting ourselves some big goals, but it's going to take some time.

Q. Your predecessor Waqar Younis suggested that the head coach should be part of the selection committee. Do you agree with Waqar?
A. Yes I agree with Waqar. The head coach should certainly be privy to the selection panel. Whether he has a vote or not is immaterial because it never really gets down to a vote as it's normally just a general good discussion.

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