Mickey Arthur has hit the ground running with his third national team job.

His two series with Pakistan have produced impressive results: a 2-2 draw in England, and a 2-1 win over the West Indies in the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan are No 2 in the world, and were No 1 before being overtaken by India on the strength of their 3-0 drubbing of New Zealand recently.

The man who has spent time overseeing his home country, South Africa, and Australia is relishing his latest international gig.

Not being a Pakistani has helped, he believes.


"That's been an advantage for the Pakistan Cricket Board. I have no emotional attachment to anybody and absolutely no agenda," affable Arthur said.

Having a significant hand over the structures down to domestic cricket, has helped Arthur's understanding of the players.

"There is no political interference and I can go about my business and do what I do best, hopefully getting the team winning games."

Coaching Pakistan would not be everyone's cup of tea. Historically, it has been a fiery pot, with factions among players along Lahore and Karachi, or tribal lines. Arthur has seen none of that.

"They're a great bunch of guys, work really hard and they're very talented and ambitious. All the ingredients are there for something quite good."

Arthur's 110 first-class games for Free State and Griqualand West include an 83 and 85 double opening for Free State against New Zealand in Bloemfontein in 1994, helping set up a dramatic two-wicket win.

He coached South Africa from 2005-10, had a stint with Western Australia before becoming the first foreign-born coach of Australia. It ended badly, sacked just before the 2013 Ashes in the wake of Homeworkgate, when Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and the team manager stood four players down for a test for failing to complete an off-field assignment.

Pakistan are loaded with talent and three stand out - captain Misbah-ul-Haq, the country's most successful batsman Younis Khan and mercurial legspinner Yasir Shah.

Arthur has high praise for all three. Misbah, captain since the tumultuous spot fixing days of 2010, has "an aura about him. To have done when he did with the team since [2010] is fantastic. That's testimony to his character".

Younis has scored more runs, 9663, and centuries, 33, and has a higher average, 53.98, from his 110 tests, than any other Pakistani batsman.

"He's one of the most professional players I've ever worked with, very structured, very routine and goes about his business in a very professional way," Arthur said. But Arthur reserves real excitement for the brilliant Shah, who reached 100 test wickets in just 17 tests and only one player, England's George Lohmann in the late 19th century, has got there faster.

"I've never worked with a spinner that quite has the skill he does. The control, the ability to get people out, his enthusiasm, the amount of revs he gets on the ball. I stand there mesmerised watching him bowl."

An intriguing prospect then as Pakistan look to get that No 1 spot back with haste.

• The first day's play in Pakistan's test warmup against New Zealand A was washed out in Nelson yesterday.