The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 has been a rollercoaster of emotions, filled with thrilling matches, unexpected twists, and its fair share of controversies. One such controversy arose when Pakistan’s team director, Mickey Arthur, made some unconventional comments about the ambience and arrangements at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad after Pakistan’s loss against India. Arthur’s remarks didn’t sit well with the cricket fraternity, leading to responses from both Indian and Pakistani cricket legends. Moreover, the ICC weighed in on the matter.
Following Pakistan’s eighth World Cup loss to India, Mickey Arthur raised eyebrows with his comments. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the partisan crowd and the absence of Pakistani music at the venue, making him feel like it was more of a “BCCI event than ICC.” He mentioned that no Pakistani fans had been granted visas to travel to India for the World Cup, and those present in the stadium were residents from different countries.
Arthur’s post-match statement included these words: “Look, I’d be lying if I said it did [not affect us]. It didn’t seem like an ICC event, to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; like a BCCI event.”
Notably, Arthur wasn’t the only one on the Pakistan support staff who had reservations about the atmosphere in Ahmedabad. Pakistan coach Grant Bradburn echoed similar sentiments, feeling that the conditions favoured hosts India.
He commented, “We are really sad that our supporters aren’t here, they would love to be here, and I am sure Indian cricket fans would love our supporters here as well. It was certainly unusual in that way, no familiar music for us today. So it did not feel like a World Cup game, honestly.”
In the midst of the criticism directed at Mickey Arthur, ICC chairman Greg Barclay offered his perspective on the matter. He downplayed the controversy, viewing it as a common occurrence in major sporting events.
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Barclay stated, “Every event that we have, there are always criticisms from various quarters. Things that perhaps we’ll take away and try to work on, try to do better… so this event’s only [at] the start. Let’s see how the whole thing plays out, and we’ll go away, and we’ll review what could change, what we can do better, how we can improve World Cups and the general offering around cricket.”
He emphasized that constructive criticism is essential for continuous improvement and that the ICC will consider feedback to enhance future World Cups.
Barclay added, “We will just take it as it plays out, get to the end of the event. I’m satisfied that it will still be an outstanding World Cup.”
Despite the loss against India, Pakistan maintained their position in the fourth spot in the World Cup points table, having secured two wins and one loss in three games. Their victories came against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. The upcoming challenge for Pakistan is their match against Australia, a team that has recently gained momentum with a victory over Sri Lanka. The clash is scheduled for October 20 in Bengaluru.