ICC Champions Trophy 2017| Mickey Arthur: We were below par

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017| Mickey Arthur: We were below par

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SportsCafe Desk


Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur admitted that his side was below par against their Indian counterparts and the result of the match was a reality check for the team in terms of their performance in the ODIs. Pakistan suffered a crushing 124-run defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals India yesterday.

India thrashed Pakistan by dismantling the Pakistani batting lineup for a meagre 164, registering a convincing win over their arch-rivals and starting their title defence on a high. On the other hand, Pakistan seemed to struggle in every aspect of the game raising concerns about the quality of their game.

"We were below par," Arthur said at the post-match press conference. "It's as simple as that. And it's a reality check of where we are in our one-day cricket at the moment. The worrying thing for me - and it has been for a period of time - is we just do the basics wrong. We do the simple things wrong. We drop simple catches. We don't run well enough between wickets. We don't hit the keeper with our throws and we don't understand when to bowl our variations. We bowled a really good over and then we bowled a variation with our sixth ball and that's the ball that ended up going for a boundary. So it's the simplicity of those things that are worrying me at the moment.", he added.

Pakistan looked sloppy in the field and dropped Yuvraj Singh on 7 which cost them dearly as the Indian southpaw blasted 53-runs from 32 balls. Later in the match, Fahim Ashraf dropped the set Indian skipper Virat Kohli on 44 who then went on to score an unbeaten 81. Arthur also acknowledged that his side were overawed by the occasion.

"We talk about setting the tone up front," he said. "But we didn't set tone up front. We had a couple of guys that were in the clouds at the start and that sets tone. For us to have a performance as tentative as that right from the start is a worry and the only thing I can think of is the magnitude of the occasion got to them."

"My issue is fear. My issue is them getting out there and really looking to take the game on and just believing in themselves and believing that they can take the game on."

Furthermore, the performance raised concerns about the fitness of the Pakistani players as Wahab Riaz had to be wheeled out after twisting his already injured knee in the 46th over of the Indian innings ending his miserable outing wherein he gave away 87 runs in 8.4 overs with no wicket to his credit. Mohammad Amir was the second bowler to leave the field after suffering a cramp in the 44th over. Arthur was surprised at the fitness of his players, as the decision of choosing Wahab Riaz instead of Junaid Khan backfired.

"I don't know why they're cramping," Arthur said. "That's something that I need to take up with the medical team. Wahab was fully fit. He went through a fitness test. He was declared fully fit. He performed poorly today. But he had a role to play. And I'll take the blame, me, I'll take it. I selected him. I selected him because I wanted him to perform a role. He didn't execute that role, unfortunately."

"So sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't. We picked Shadab Khan ahead of Fahim Ashraf today. That worked really well. I thought Shadab was outstanding."

However, the head coach defended his team even after their shoddy outing stating it was a bad day for his side.

"It's a total insult to say we're playing even worse," he said. "If you have a look at our records over the last year we've won two series. We've got ourselves from No. 9 to No. 8 in the rankings and our brand of cricket has changed. We had a poor game today. But we're obviously trying our best and we're trying to change it. It's not going to happen overnight. We're trying every day. Every time we go down to training, we try and get the basics right. We didn't do it today. And that's disappointing."

Speaking of the road ahead for the Pakistan side Arthur said, "We'll have a good, hard chat tonight. And then when we leave the dressing room it will all be done and we'll be thinking firmly of coming back and beating South Africa. Because that's what I think our players can do. So, we're going to be up for the fight. I'd be really disappointed if we walked away and for the rest of the tournament sort of hit our heads because we're better than that."

Following the defeat, Pakistan will have to win both their remaining group stage matches against South Africa and Sri Lanka to seal a spot in the semi-finals of the tournament. Pakistan takes on South Africa on 7th June at Edgbaston. 

Did you know, Rohit Sharma scored 264 against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, which is the highest individual score in ODIs.

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