CWC : Arthur gives blunt assessment of Pakistan’s failure

Kolkata, (UNI) Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur gave an open and blunt assessment of why his team failed to reach the semifinals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.

Arthur was grilled on the big issues surrounding the Pakistan team following their 93-run loss to England on Saturday.

Pakistan weren’t among the four best teams, Arthur said. “I don’t think we played our best game here,” he said.

“I think I really believe the best four teams in the competition are now playing in the semi-finals. Inconsistency, unfortunately, doesn’t breed success. But that is no excuse at all. The fact is, we haven’t played well enough. We finished fifth, and fifth is where we deserve to finish with the cricket that we’ve played over the last six weeks,” Arthur stated.

Arthur said Pakistan’s approach is ‘behind the eight ball’. “I think what we’ve seen, and it’s something that we’ve continually tried to push, is that we’re behind the eight ball,” the coach said, discussing Pakistan’s approach to ODI cricket with both bat and ball.

“Our game needs to go to another level. Our bowling attack, we get Naseem Shah, I think we miss Naseem. But if you have him, our bowling attack’s good,” he said.

“Batting-wise, we have to become a 330-350 team. The teams that are doing that and doing that consistently are the teams that are in the semifinal. And I don’t think we’ve done that consistently enough. We do that when Fakhar Zaman comes off and we can’t just be relying on one player,” Arthur said.

The Head Coach backed Babar Azam as a captain by saying, “We were a real tight knit unit. I get behind Babar, and Babar is very close to me. He’s a young guy that needs to be taken on the journey. He needs to be shown the ropes. He’s still learning all the time.

“We know he’s a very, very fine batsman. He learns every day with his captaincy. He’s growing and we have to allow him the time to grow. And in order to do that, you make mistakes.

“It’s not a crime to make mistakes as long as you learn from those mistakes, and as a group we’ve made a lot of mistakes in this World Cup, but if this group grows and learns from it, we’ve got the core of a very, very good side,” he said.

Shutting out the outside noise, Arthur said, “The key for us as leaders within that group is to make sure that we make the players deaf to the outside noise. As I say, for us as a group and us as a team, particularly for us as leaders, we’ve got to create a stable environment. Our messaging has to be consistent, our environment has to be consistent and stable, because only then do you get players that grow.”

“If the environment is unstable, what you find is you get players that ultimately, and rightly so, end up playing for themselves because they’re playing for the next selection. Well, you can’t create an environment like that. You create an environment through stability,” he said.

Arthur said spin hasn’t been up to standard for Pakistan. He said, “The spinners would be the first to say they probably haven’t bowled as a group as well as they could have. And that’s a thing to work on for us. Our brand of cricket, the way we play our cricket, requires us to have two spinners playing and a third one as your sixth or seventh.”

“I think Shadab today had arguably his best spell for a long time. I saw the ball fizzing, I saw the revs on the ball, I saw the dip he managed to get. That’s the best he’s bowled over a period of time. We’ve got to keep encouraging that,” he added.

Arthur said Pakistan batsmen lack attacking intent. He said, “I think we won the Bangladesh game in 30 overs.

We won that in 30 overs because of the net run rate. Perhaps we could have done it from game one and you’ve got a point.

“It wasn’t through messaging; I can assure you of that. It wasn’t through us not challenging our batsmen every day to grow, not challenging our batsmen to be a 330 or 350 team. We challenge them every day to do that because that’s where the game’s gone,” he added.

“As I said earlier, the top four teams in this competition are all playing that way. We have to be able to play that way in order to compete. The players know that, we know that as coaches, we give those messages every day.

“We challenge them in the nets to do that every day. So, it hasn’t gone unnoticed, and we’re certainly, certainly trying to do that,” Arthur said.

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