Pakistan seek solutions to lift WC gloom; Arthur slams net run rate rule - GulfToday

Pakistan seek solutions to lift WC gloom; Arthur slams net run rate rule

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Mickey Arthur

Every World Cup failure for Pakistan sparks a wave of reviews and sackings and the promise of a fresh approach — until the team wins again and all is forgotten.

The script is expected to be similar after Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team failed to make the semi-finals in England and Wales despite a late charge.

Pakistan won four straight matches to finish level on 11 points with New Zealand, but they bowed out of the tournament due to an inferior net run-rate. There have once again been calls for an overhaul of the system, changes in the team set-up and style of play, but 1992 World Cup winner Wasim Akram said there was no need to panic.

“Pakistan woke up late in the World Cup and when they gained momentum they won four straight games,” the former captain said.

“It is not a bad finish and I don’t think we need to panic.

“There is no quick fix and the people running Cricket need time and must keep the example of how England lifted their one-day cricket. I am ready to contribute towards that.”

England’s humiliating first-round exit in 2015 sparked a radical rethink and the host nation started this World Cup as the number one side in the world.

Another World Cup winner, Ramiz Raja, believes Pakistan have the ability to produce “magical” cricket and says their exit is a loss to the tournament.

But he said every defeat was an opportunity to assess things and that ruthless decisions were required.

“I think every defeat gives an opportunity for introspection, so Pakistan need to do four or five things if they want to be a force in world Cricket,” he said.

“Pakistan have to correct their system, which can provide them with regular talent and then define and refine that talent.

“Look at Australia — they were losing against every team a year ago but since their system is strong they stood up. We need to take ruthless decisions in a review.”

The positions of head coach Mickey Arthur and captain Sarfaraz — both of whom had contracts until the World Cup — will be looked at as part of the assessment.

Luckily for Pakistan, they have a crop of talented youngsters who can form the nucleus of the team for years to come.

“At 24, we’re the youngest team by a long way in this competition, and that is something that we can be proud of, and I think that augurs well for the future of Pakistan Cricket,” said Arthur, who wants to continue in the role of coach.

“We’ve showcased a lot of our young talent, and I think the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, the list goes on and on. And look, there’s going to be a review now, and we’ll see how that goes.

“Unfortunately it has always been this way for Pakistan -- we don’t seem to be able to find that collective consistency. But my message, again, is ‘let’s stay positive’.”

Arthur also urged the ICC to give head-to-head record a higher priority than net run rate.

“I would have liked the ICC to consider head to head because tonight we would be in the semi-final. It is disappointing, and it just goes back to our first game (a heavy defeat) against the West Indies,” Arthur said.

“We had an opportunity to beat Australia and we didn’t take that. Those are the two nightmares I’m going to have,” he added.

“What the system has done to us is that after one very poor game, you really battle to recover again. So it’s a very disappointed dressing room, no congratulations going on because we haven’t qualified. Congratulations to the four who have, I think they’ve played the best cricket so far and may the best team win,” said Arthur.

“But it is nice for us to sit here and know we’ve beaten two of those teams [England and New Zealand] which shows we’re not a mile off in terms of ourselves as a cricket team.”

Arthur also admitted that the team had discussed posting a total in excess of 400 if they batted first. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t discussed. But I think that was something that we could only assess once we did something right. The first 10 overs were expected to be quite crucial. You couldn’t have just walked in there and gone ‘I think we’re going to get 400’. Getting 400 was a platform. You needed to get a good base, and you needed to move,” he added.

“The message we got from Fakhar [Zaman] when he came back in the change room was it was slow. Balls going into the wicket were quite tough. We realised that getting the average score, I think, is 270 over the tournament. I mean, getting 400 was a bit of a pipe dream. And then we realised we just wanted to win and we wanted to win well.”

Pakistan has hosted little international cricket since Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked in 2009 in Lahore. The situation has forced Pakistan to play at neutral venues in the UAE, meaning the game is not so visible to the younger generation who need to be inspired to play the game.

The nation’s cricket board is striving to bring back international Cricket to Pakistan in the hope that will provide a further catalyst for a revival in the team’s fortunes.

Agencies