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ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY 2017

King Arthur's crowning glory

19 June 2017

The last Champions Trophy tournament ended with Mickey Arthur's sacking as Australia coach

Almost four years to the day since he was sacked as coach of Australia, Mickey Arthur celebrated his greatest achievement at the same venue where his tenure in charge of the Aussies reached the point of no return.

Having helped to lift Pakistan from the brink of an embarrassing group-stage exit to their first major ODI trophy in 25 years, Arthur was keen to put the focus on a previously unheralded group of players who have beaten the world No.1, the tournament favourites and the defending champions in less than a fortnight.

This is massive for the country: Arthur

But after five near misses at major tournaments as coach of South Africa, and a nightmare Champions Trophy campaign four years ago in what turned out to be his last act as Australia's coach, Arthur allowed himself a brief moment of self-reflection.

"Yeah certainly (but) it's not about me and my career, it's about 15 unbelievable players in that dressing room who have been absolutely fantastic for the last year," a beaming Arthur said when asked if the victory was his greatest achievement as a coach.

"So that's what it should be about.

"But it is, it really is. I've had five semi-finals with South Africa and never got to a final. I got to one final with Pakistan and eventually got a medal. So that's fantastic.

Fabulous Fakhar smashes maiden ODI ton

"But the credit goes to the players. They've been brilliant, and my fellow coaching staff and management team have been fantastic, as well."

This coming Saturday marks four years since Arthur was dumped as coach of Australia on the eve of their 2013 Ashes campaign, a decision that followed a winless Champions Trophy which had ended with a defeat against Sri Lanka at The Oval.

After three years on the outer at international level, Arthur took the reins at Pakistan a little more than 12 months ago and helped to guide them to the world No.1 Test ranking just four months later.

But their lack of progression in 50-over cricket, which had seen them drop to No.8 in the world rankings and in danger of missing automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup, seemingly reached its lowest ebb with a 124-run thrashing against India at Edgbaston a fortnight ago.

India dominated the group stage meeting with Pakistan

Having labelled the defeat in Birmingham an "aberration", a claim that has now been fully vindicated, Arthur says it was words rather than actions that triggered the stunning turnaround.

"It sort of feels surreal really, to be honest," he said.

"We had some good, hard conversations (after the India game), but we didn't train any more (than normal) because we knew the base had been done. All that had been put in place.

"If we had tried to train any more, we would as a coaching staff have been seen to be panicking, and that's the last thing you want to do in those situations.

"We trusted the players. We trusted what we had put in place, but we had some good honest conversations.

"We had some conversations about stepping up, had conversations about standing up to our position.

"And the players almost drove that conversation, which for us was very new, but also showed a maturity, and the way they turned it around was unbelievable."

Luck bails out Hafeez during entertaining cameo

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed addressed the media after the match and praised Arthur and his coaching staff, including Australian fielding coach Steve Rixon, for leading their revival.

"Credit goes to my team management, they worked really hard after the first defeat," the skipper said.

"They motivated us, and they passed it on to my boys. They're learning very well.

"When we arrive here, we are No.8 (in the ODI rankings) and now we are the champions.

"Hopefully this win will boost up Pakistan cricket and hopefully all playing nations are coming to Pakistan."

What the win means for Pakistan: Mazher Arshad

Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation


Schedule


1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneNew Zealand v Australia, No Result

3 JuneSri Lanka lost to South Africa by 96 runs

4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, No Result

6 JuneEngland beat New Zealand by 87 runs

7 JunePakistan beat South Africa by 19 runs (DLS method)

8 JuneSri Lanka beat India by seven wickets

9 JuneBangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets

10 JuneEngland beat Australia by 40 runs (DLS method)

11 JuneIndia beat South Africa by eight wickets

12 JunePakistan beat Sri Lanka by three wickets

14 JuneFirst semi-final: England lost to Pakistan by eight wkts

15 JuneSecond semi-final: Bangladesh lost to India by nine wickets, Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal: Pakistan bear India by 180 runs


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About the Writer

 @martinsmith9994
@martinsmith9994

Martin Smith is a writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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