Mickey Arthur said on Monday he wants to prove Cricket Australia erred by sacking him as he returns as coach of Pakistan for this week’s day-night Test in Brisbane.
South African Arthur, who was fired by Cricket Australia on the eve of the 2013 Ashes after a run of defeats and replaced by current national coach Darren Lehmann, will be plotting Pakistan’s strategy for the three-Test series that starts at the Gabba on Thursday.
Arthur, 48, said there was a part of him that still had a point to prove to his former employers.
“I wouldn’t be honest if I said otherwise,” he told reporters.
“That’s what happens. It’s a ruthless world out there. I always maintain that I loved the first year and a bit of it, it was outstanding and I felt we made some significant progress.
“This series isn’t about me against Australia. It’s about two very good cricket teams going head to head, I hope that can be the focus.”
Arthur said he was coming to terms with his anticipated return to face his former team on the other side.
“It’s pretty surreal really to be walking into the Gabba... coming back as a visiting coach,” he said.
Arthur’s tenure was marked by the so-called “homeworkgate”, when four players – Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja – were banned for one Test for failing to complete a written task set during a disastrous tour of India in 2013.
Australia pace spearhead Mitchell Starc said the home team was “a lot closer” since Arthur was replaced with Lehmann.
“The team wasn’t very close in those times but that’s because of different characters,” Arthur said.
“Since then the guys have matured and gone on... Mitchell Starc is a world-class cricketer.”
Arthur said he was prepared with some insider information about the current Australian players but it was up to his Pakistan team to put it to good use.
“The intelligence is good... we’ll be providing a whole lot of information, he said.
“Assistant coach (and former Australia coach) Steve Rixon knows the guys pretty well as well. The information is useless if you don’t put it into practice.”
Kamran Akmal likely to make a comeback to Pak squad
Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal is all set to make a comeback to the national squad after nearly two and half years having scored a flurry of runs in domestic cricket. Kamran met with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq here on Sunday. The wicketkeeper-batsman was inquired about his fitness by the selectors. “Kamran, who last played in April, 2014 for Pakistan, is set to earn a recall for the one-day series in Australia in January,” a source said.