Pakistan have made ‘significant strides’ since woeful AUS tour: Mickey Arthur
Mickey Arthur, Pakistan cricket team’s coach, has confessed to being “embarrassed” by the standards of some players during the tour of Australia, where they lost both the Test and ODI series.cricket Updated: Sep 15, 2017 17:37 IST
Mickey Arthur believes Pakistan have made “significant strides” in one-day international cricket since his appointment as head coach, but admits there is work to do in the Test arena.
The experienced South African took charge in May 2016 with his new employers languishing down in ninth place in the ICC ODI rankings.
While there were growing pains at the start of his reign - Pakistan were beaten 4-1 by both England and Australia - they rose to the challenge at the ICC Champions Trophy in June, stunning rivals India in a one-sided final on English soil.
While Arthur sees a bright future in the shorter formats, he accepts his younger players need to step up in Test cricket as they begin life without batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, who both retired after the 2-1 series victory over West Indies in May.
“We’ve almost come full circle. When I took over a year-and-a-bit ago, the emphasis was on one-day cricket, because that’s where we were lagging,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
“We’ve made significant strides in that area with our brand of cricket. Players certainly are playing with a lot more sense of freedom, with us looking to strike with the ball, particularly in those middle overs, and our fielding.
“The Test team was very settled [when I took over]. It was just a continuation, and we had that fantastic series against England [in 2016].
“Now, though, the wheel has turned. Our one-day team seems pretty settled and is going in the right direction in terms of our brand, but we sit with a Test team that we need to develop, primarily in the batting.
“But I’m very excited to see how the likes of Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Azhar Ali become our premier players. How they adjust to that responsibility is going to be fantastic.”
Arthur pinpointed a specific moment during the tour of Australia that made him realise how desperately Pakistan needed to improve in limited-overs cricket.
“The tipping point for us was when we needed some fresh legs for the one-day series in Australia,” he explained.
“I’ll never forget taking the one-day players who just arrived out onto the outfield to do some work at lunchtime in front of a packed house at the MCG. The standards that those players arrived in was embarrassing. I was embarrassed to see those players run on the outfield.
“Ultimately, that was a reflection of the culture, a reflection on our dressing room. The reflection I wanted on our dressing room was one that was thoroughly professional, one where we push the standards all the time and look to improve ourselves.”