Home Sports Mickey Arthur: ‘It didn’t seem like an ICC event, it seemed like a BCCI event’

Mickey Arthur: ‘It didn’t seem like an ICC event, it seemed like a BCCI event’

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Mickey Arthur: ‘It didn’t seem like an ICC event, it seemed like a BCCI event’

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How many people were in the crowd on Saturday in Ahmedabad was not made public, but you wouldn’t have struggled to count the number of green shirts in the stands. That number possibly stood at three, all Pakistani-Americans from the United States.

The crowd could’ve been anywhere between 115,000 to 125,000, so it was a sea of blue that welcomed both teams at the anthems. It remained that way until the end of the match, the decibel levels rising as India got closer and closer to completing their chase of 192 with seven wickets in hand.

Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan team director, didn’t want to use this as an excuse for the loss, but nonetheless questioned the one-sided nature of the fan base.

“Look, I’d be lying if I said it did [not affect us],” Arthur said when asked about the partisan crowd. “It didn’t seem like an ICC event to be brutally honest. It seemed like a bilateral series; it seemed like a BCCI event. I didn’t hear Dil Dil Pakistan coming through the microphones too often tonight.

“So yes, that does play a role, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse because for us it was about living the moment, it was about the next ball, and it was about how we were going to combat the Indian players tonight.”

The lack of green in the stands was partly down to Pakistani fans not being granted visas for the tournament. It wasn’t too different for Pakistan’s travelling media contingent. Until Friday, only three out of Pakistan’s contingent of 60 journalists – from an original application long list of 355 – had been provided visas, that too after lengthy delays.

This is in stark contrast to the situation in 2016, when India last hosted a global tournament. Or perhaps even the 2011 World Cup, when the BCCI facilitated 6500 visas for travelling Pakistani fans for the Mohali semi-final alone.

As a follow-up, Arthur was asked if such a situation should be allowed at global events. It’s a question he dead batted. “Look I don’t think I can’t comment on that just yet,” he said. “I don’t want to get fined.”

“Naturally that [a sea of blue] was going to be the case. We are really sad that our supporters aren’t here,” he said. “They would love 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. We didn’t expect anything else. [But] we love the occasion and we are disappointed that we did not do justice to the occasion or justice to our many fans at home and globally.”

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