Pakistan’s Cricket Board’s (PCB) appointment of Mickey Arthur as the new head coach of the Pakistan cricket team has raised several eyebrows, and ruffled some feathers at home. Many felt that the job should have gone to a former Pakistani player; indignant candidates made their displeasure known. However apart from stretched argument based on patriotism, local candidates haven’t been able to give a valid reason for their selection. In fact, the foreign nationality of Arthur gives him an advantage over local candidates – even before we factor in his attributes as coach.

One of his first statements in the job has been to stress that he will not compromise on discipline, fitness and fielding standards during his time with the side. A lack of work ethic has been the bane of recent Pakistani team, and a ruthless taskmaster like Arthur is exactly what is needed to bring wayward players to heel. His considerable success while coaching his native South Africa is a testament to his ability – although a disastrous stint with Australia mars it somewhat.

As important as his strict outlook is his foreign nationality. The murky politics of the PCB is notorious, and has enabled several players to play despite lacklustre performance and consistent disciplinary issues. A Pakistani coach may be well versed in the local language and custom, but he is just as likely to be well versed in the local political games. There is no guarantee that Mickey Arthur won’t be a victim – or participant –of this power struggle, but the presumption lies with him because he is an outsider. Already he has lent credence to this stance by dropping Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shezad, and Umer Akmal from the squad for the England tour.

Mikey Arthur now faces a tough job, he has to bring a cultural revolution to the Pakistan camp, and he has to raise the team from its embarrassing rankings in limited over cricket. A fresh face, a clean break, and a new regime can perhaps do the trick.