SOUTHAMPTON: Mickey Arthur on Monday hailed Pakistan after they took over as the world’s number one Test team but also warned his charges that the tough part is yet to come.
“They say that it’s easy to get there but difficult to stay on the top of the rankings,” Arthur told ‘The News’ in an interview ahead of a training session of the Pakistan team here at the picture-perfect Ages Bowl where they will meet England in their first One-day International on Wednesday (tomorrow).
“The challenge now is to maintain the number one ranking as the journey has just begun for Pakistan,” added Arthur, the former South Africa and Australia coach, who replaced Waqar Younis as Pakistan’s head coach before the ongoing tour of England.
Arthur said that he feels lucky to be at the helm of a Pakistan team that has topped the world rankings.
“Its a fantastic achievement,” he said. “I’m just the lucky coach as there are a lot of other people behind this feat,” he added.
Arthur showered praise on his predecessor stressing that Waqar deserves a lot of credit for Pakistan’s rise in Test.
“Waqar played a big role and also the support staff who have worked fabulously,” he said.
Waqar quit as Pakistan coach after his side slumped to a first-round exit at the ICC World Twenty20 championship in India earlier this year.
Arthur was also of the view that while skipper Misbah-ul-Haq deserves accolades for lifting the team out of the doom and gloom that followed the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, its team effort that has catapulted Pakistan to the top spot.
“I think everybody has contributed,” he said. “Misbah deserves a lot of credit as Pakistan cricket was in the doldrums back in 2010 when he took over.
“All the senior players have played a big part. Saeed Ajmal, Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed. All of them have really given their best.”
Arthur said that Pakistan deserved to be on the top.
“I’m so happy for Pakistan. They have achieved something fantastic considering that they are always playing away from home. And I’m confident that the team will work hard to maintain the top ranking.”