ISLAMABAD - After long speculations and delays, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) finally announced highly controversial South African John Michael (Mickey) Arthur as Pakistan cricket team head coach on two-year contract.

Arthur was the coach of South Africa in 2007, when Shoaib Malik was Pakistan cricket team skipper. He leveled serious allegations against Pakistan team and blamed them of fixing after three years delay, while the PCB rejected the allegations and sent him legal notice.

Arthur was appointed Proteas coach in 2005 and left the job in 2010 after developing serious differences with African skipper Smith. He leveled serious allegations against umpires during 2006 Australian tour and termed them as biased. He was sacked as Australian coach and filed a $3.7million law suit against Cricket Australia (CA) in 2013.

Seeing all this, only PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan knows on what grounds and records, Arthur was picked and given nod of approval ahead of other foreign coaches and especially over local ones. Arthur would earn a hefty Rs 1.8 million monthly salary, 30 leaves every year and traveling allowance. He would initially stay at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), but if Arthur demanded a residence, the PCB would have to arrange the accommodation as well. He had never played an international match for South Africa, as he had played 110 first class matches, and had coached South Africa and Australia. South Africa did become number one ICC team in all three formats under his coaching, but other than that, his career was full of controversies.

Arthur was the worst with Australia and only after 19 months, he was sacked as their national team coach, just two months prior to the Ashes. Despite past cricketers’ strong reservations on appointing a foreign coach, the PCB gave nod of approval to a coach which proved flop for Karachi Kings during the first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), where Karachi was the only team which didn’t qualify for even the playoffs.

A country, which is deprived of hosting international cricket and has been facing severe financial crisis, should have appointed a local coach in such a crucial time, which may not only cost them cheaper but also could have helped the players in a better way.

A coach like Mohsin Haasan Khan, who is a well proven stuff, helped green caps win six out of eight Tests and that too against England, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan cricket team remained undefeated in Test matches during his tenure and he was just getting around Rs 300,000 monthly. Despite Mohsin had shown keen interest in coaching the national team once again and challenged the PCB to uplift the level of Pakistan cricket team, which is down and out and at number nine in ODIS and number seven in T20 Internationals in the ICC rankings, but the cricket board was not in a mood to save national exchequer.

Mohsin was a proven stuff and at a time, when Pakistan cricket team is about to embark on a very difficult tour of England, a person and mentor like Mohsin was need of the hour to stand realistic chances of doing well against the English team at their own backyard, but the PCB appointed Arthur in a hurry.

Besides Mohsin Khan, local coaches like Basit Ali, who had won highly prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy title with SNGPL, Abdul Rehman, highly successful Peshawar Region coach and had won a number of national titles for Peshawar, Sabih Azhar, Rawalpindi Region coach, who had won Quaid-e-Azam Trophy not only with Rawalpindi but also with Peshawar Region as well and also helped Pakistan U-25 to win the SAARC Cup in Maldives, helped Pakistan U-19 team beat Australia, win U-19 Asia Cup in Malaysia, win U-18 Championship in UAE, could help Pakistan cricket do well against best teams but such highly successful local coaches were not considered for the role with national team. Even the legendary Hanif Muhammad strongly recommended Mohsin Khan’s name for the national team coaching, but his words of wisdom were not enough to convince the PCB chairman.

Why the PCB looks highly reluctant to hand over national team coaching responsibility to a local coach, who had given their entire lives to Pakistan cricket but to no avail. If the PCB doesn’t want to consider them for national duty, then they should be clearly informed that their services are only required at regional or low-profile events and they are not meant for national team coaching.

Controversial figure like Mickey Arthur could further deepen crisis. It would take more than a miracle for Arthur to revive fast declining fortunes of Pakistan cricket. The task look highly impossible for him as he had very little time to put green caps on track as England tour is not far away.