It Seemed More Like a Bilateral BCCI Match Than an India-Pakistan World Cup Fixture: Mickey Arthur


It Seemed More Like a Bilateral BCCI Match Than an India-Pakistan World Cup Fixture: Mickey Arthur

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The absence of Pakistan fans at the Narendra Modi Stadium during their World Cup clash with India has deeply disheartened the Pakistan team management, and their disappointment and criticism have been quite vocal. Mickey Arthur, the team director, expressed his concerns, emphasizing that the event felt more like a bilateral contest arranged by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rather than a genuinely global championship governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Arthur didn’t mince his words, stating, “Look, I’d be lying if I said it did. It didn’t seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event. I didn’t hear Dil Dil Pakistan coming through the microphones too often tonight.” He made these remarks after Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, suffered a seven-wicket loss to India. When asked if the massive and largely partisan crowd, numbering 130,000, affected their performance, he acknowledged the role it played but didn’t use it as an excuse. He stressed that their focus was on living the moment and strategizing against the Indian team.

In response to whether such circumstances should have been allowed, Arthur refrained from commenting to avoid any potential repercussions: “Look I don’t think I can’t comment on that just yet. I don’t want to get fined.”

The absence of Pakistani fans has been a significant pre-tournament talking point, and the BCCI has faced criticism for not collaborating with the Government of India to facilitate travel approvals for Pakistani fans. Visa approvals for Pakistani journalists were also delayed, resulting in only a handful being able to attend this match.

The Pakistan coach, Grant Bradburn, shared Arthur’s sentiments, acknowledging the unusual atmosphere and lack of familiar music, which made it feel less like a World Cup game. He expressed disappointment that they couldn’t do justice to the occasion and the fans.

While Arthur admitted that Pakistan was second-best in the contest, he highlighted that their approach was somewhat timid, and they could have been more assertive against the Indian spinners. He also expressed a desire to meet the Indian team in the final.

“This Indian team is a very, very good cricket team. I think they’re very well led by Rahul and Rohit. I think they look good. I think they’ve got all bases covered, and I’m looking forward to meeting them in the final again,” he said, praising the Indian team.


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