Kolkata:With Pakistan failing to reach the semifinals and finishing their campaign in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, the team is facing a lot of pressure with everybody conducting a postmortem of their performance. There are calls for sacking skipper Babar Azam and some even want the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Director of Cricket and the team’s head coach Mickey Arthur to be shown the door.
In such a vicious environment, coach Arthur has asked the players, especially the leadership group, to shut out the outside noise and concentrate on their process to help the team regain lost ground. This is the second World Cup in succession in which Pakistan has failed to reach the semifinals and finished fifth.
“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,” said Arthur.
“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,” Arthur said.
Listing the areas in which the team failed to perform at its usual level, Arthur listed spin bowling as one of them and also said the lack of attacking intent with the bat was also a problem area.
“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,” Arthus 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 to,” he said,
“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,” said the chief coach.
He said that planning is in place for the team’s recovery. “We’ve planned. We know exactly where we need to go. We need to know what we need to do. Planning’s already started. We’re a long way down the line with our test planning for Australia. But ultimately, we can only control what we can. What we can control is how we prepare our players. What we control is the messaging that we give to our players. We can’t control anything else. What will be, will be in that regard. But we’ve got to stay consistent,” he said.
“We’ve got a very impressionable young group of players now. There are some very good young players who are going to have big careers. We need to just keep preaching to them the right message. We’ve got to stay consistent, stay consistent around our selection, stay consistent around our messaging, and allow those guys an environment which allows them to play and play to the best of their ability,” Arthur said.