LAHORE: Former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is set to return to the national team setup, but in a consultancy role, the country’s cricket board’s interim Management Committee chairman Najam Sethi told Dawn on Monday.

“The negotiations are being finalised with Mickey Arthur to work as a consultant with the Pakistan team with his own handpicked support staff,” said Sethi. “Currently Mickey Arthur is selecting his support staff which will comprise five officials.

“While three officials have been picked and two are remaining, and as soon as he gives the names of his selected support staff we will move forward to hire their services.”

Arthur’s return as the Pakistan head coach has been on the cards since Sethi took control of the board, replacing former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, who fell out of favour for Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the board’s patron last month.

Not long after, the PCB did confirm its correspondence with Arthur but also suggested talks with him had fallen apart due to the coach’s contractual obligations with English county side Derbyshire.

The board in a statement said the option to hire Arthur as either a coach or “as a consultant to the PCB on a time-sharing basis with Derbyshire” was “proving difficult to materialise for various reasons on both sides”.

But the chapter was reopened last week when Sethi said he was still in talks with the former Australia coach and that “90 per cent distance was covered” with a final decision subject to the hiring of the support staff.

During Arthur’s tenure as the Pakistan coach between 2016 and 2019, Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and became the number one side in the Twenty20 international rankings.

The 54-year-old, however, felt out of favour after Pakistan narrowly missed out on making the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup in England. Arthur, who has also coached his native South Africa and Sri Lanka, is currently serving as the head coach of Derbyshire on a three-year contract.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2023

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