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KARACHI: In the aftermath of Pakistan’s latest Test series drubbing Down Under, head coach Mickey Arthur has said that the resilience of his charges can’t be questioned, while insisting the experience of playing in Australia will hold them in good stead.

In an exclusive interview with Dawn, Arthur expressed his anguish at the outcome of the series and admitted that it is becoming increasingly difficult for teams to dominate away from home.

“Albeit we are all extremely disappointed with the way the series panned out, I really felt that we were competitive [at various stages] in this series and the players’ resilience can never be questioned,” Arthur said after arriving in Brisbane for the start of the five-match ODI series against Australia from Friday.

“It has been very depressing for all of us losing these Test matches but I can tell you for certain that the work rate of the players and staff has been outstanding and no stone has been left unturned in terms of preparation.

“The thing you have to take out of it is the fact that the players will have all grown from this experience and be far better for it. The young players will certainly bring these lessons back when they come and play here again,” Arthur, the former Free State, Griqualand West and South Africa ‘A’ batsman, added.

He conceded in modern-day cricket, a majority of teams enjoy home advantage, something Pakistan have been missing since 2009 after the terror attack on Sri Lankan deprived them of hosting international fixtures.

“I believe that it is now very evident that almost all [major] teams dominate at home and it’s getting harder to win away from home for every international team.

“This is a challenge for us going forward and I believe the players will be better for the experience of playing out here in very trying conditions,” Arthur stressed.

The former national coach of South Africa and Australia highlighted Pakistan’s bowling and fielding shortcomings as the key factors which allowed Steve Smith’s men to pile up huge totals at a fast pace.

“I think key area that we were short in was just having the ability to get those 20 wickets [in a match]. Our bowling was exposed a little and we need to get better at being more patient and controlling the run-rate because when you control the rate you give yourself a very good chance of building enough pressure to take wickets.

“We were never able to put the Australian batting order under any sort of pressure and therefore they dominated,” he said.

“It was a tough tour for Yasir [Shah] but again he will have learnt from this. He was our strike bowler but no international spinner comes to Australia and dominates and this includes Indian spinners. The Australians had a plan to attack Yasir from the word go because they knew he was our danger weapon and never let him settle at all.

“We rely heavily on Yasir to win games because he is both a defensive and attacking option for us. The pressure he was under was immense and he will go back and work very hard on his action and consistency and come back strong in our next series.

“Moreover, our fielding under pressure is also a concern and even though we are spending hours on this we are still dropping chances that put us on the back foot time and again.”

However, Arthur was satisfied the way Pakistan batsmen coped with the Australian conditions.

“I was really pleased with the way we batted and to get back-to-back scores of over 400 and have a century in every Test means that we, as a batting unit, can stand up in all conditions and the players can trust their techniques in all conditions.”

Now a naturalised Australian citizen settled in Perth, the 48-year-old Arthur admitted that he expected Smith’s side to rebound from five successive Test losses — against Sri Lanka (3-0) and South Africa — given the competitive nature of Sheffield Shield cricket.

“The [Australia’s] turnaround does not surprise me at all because their system is very good over here and they are constantly producing players who are world-class,” he observed. “Australia is arguably the toughest place to tour and teams get mentally run down out here because of the relentless pressure you face both off and on the field.”

Commenting on Misbah-ul-Haq’s uncertain future after the veteran skipper mustered just 76 runs in six innings, Arthur expected the 42-year-old to be still playing Test cricket regardless of what happened Down Under.

“I am hoping that Misbah tours and plays for Pakistan for a while yet but that is a choice that only Misbah can make. He needs time to assess for himself and I am sure when the time comes he will make the correct decision for himself,” he pointed out.

“His [Misbah’s] career is obviously a very good one and when he does decide to retire he will go down as one of Pakistan’s finest captains and batsmen.”

Arthur revealed that the time has perhaps come for Pakistan to make tough decisions to make the team across all three formats.

“I think we’ve got to be realistic in making the [tough] decisions. We will always access what are the right decisions for this team going forward and I certainly will not shy away from making tough calls if in my opinion they are in the best interest of Pakistan cricket,” he vowed.

“I am dedicated to making Pakistan the best team in all cricket and nothing will stand in my way. We have implemented very tough standards and challenging the players all the time to get the best out of them.”

On the upcoming ODI series, the coach acknowledges Pakistan must adopt an aggressive mindset to challenge the Australians. “Obviously the ODI series is going to be very tough for all concerned but we will play aggressive cricket and be trying our best to get some results. We are however under no illusions as to how tough this is going to be!”

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2017


Comments (15) Closed



KB Jan 11, 2017 10:01am

Hope our player will ever get matured and play with real passion, love and as their bread n butter source. There is casual attitude is never dying.

Pappu Jan 11, 2017 10:19am

misbah should retires. selection only on merit basis. sadaf hussain kashif bahtti should be slected. not hafeez, wahab & rahat ali

Ahmed Asif Jan 11, 2017 10:31am

The team under Arthur & Mizbah did not play aggressive cricket.Ihe includion of Sami instead of Sharjeel for 4 tests out of five shows the defensive mindset. Also Sohail Khan was not given proper chances.He played only one match,took 3 wickets & 78 runs.They should have included Sohail as a bowling All rounder.

Tariq Jan 11, 2017 11:09am

Misbah, younis, Karman and few more players should not be consider in future contest. It is time to bring replacement and try combinations and that is how these series white wash can be justified. Other there it is mere lame excuse and utter failure.

Masoud Jan 11, 2017 01:27pm

Thank you coach, Pakistanis know well that coaches are only responsible for imparting better knowledge & practice before the real test begins. Our players are not mentally strong enough to withstand heavy or light responsibility, they fizzle out easily. They need a sports psychologist to train them to remain steady fast under pressure.

Mirza Jan 11, 2017 01:48pm

Captain has to be changed immediately if Pakistan is to survive in both Test and One Day cricket. Misbah is too defensive and short of ideas. He is more reactive rather being a pro-active captain.

Vikas Jan 11, 2017 02:41pm

So he admits the players gave everything and the team played at it's best. Which means the best of Pakistan is not good enough. That should underline and reflect in global ranking very shortly too. I wonder why everything in Pakistan seems to be on the decline?

Bhala Khan Baluch Quetta Jan 11, 2017 02:56pm

Mr, Arther sorry you have poor record totally failed in ODI in Test 11 played 9 lost with world class team only win against WI "C" class, first of all your salary high, 5star hotel, business class ticket and family entertainment, Misbah, Wahab and Azhar ali family plus children in tour this is not cricket, its looks like R&R (rest recreation) to enjoy on foreign exchange of Pakistan, Chief Selector to be changed Inzi have no ability to select good team, your tenure is worse than Waqar Younus.

Oz Jan 11, 2017 06:13pm

"It was a tough tour for Yasir [Shah] but again he will have learnt from this. He was our strike bowler but no international spinner comes to Australia and dominates and this includes Indian spinners"

I think this is correct, Saeed Ajmal got tonked by Hussey and everyone will recall that. However, in this case, we did not create any hype around Yasir to scare the opposition, we did not give him an attacking field at all. Watch when Yasir and Younis were batting in last test, how many fielders were in Silly and Short fielding positions, this is what attacking field means. This is where you pile up pressure, be in the face of the batsman, make some noise. They are all good at cricket, just not in cricket politics.

imti Jan 11, 2017 10:49pm

Misbah thought the same tactics of slow grinding of opposition is going to work which he had been using successfully before Newzealand and Australia for more then three years but he forgot that wickets and ground environment is completely different so he was not thoughtful enough ( rather was in fascination phase of previous success) to adapt and go flat out like South Africa did just couple of months ago ( winning the series without Dale S, AB de Villiers and with very poor form of Hasim A)

As previously mentioned need cricketer who are self aware, self learner and self adaptable, in current team you had only few so, most probably will be playing qualifying round for World Cup 2019.

Why we wake-up so late, every time , want to test luck ???

jaydeep Jan 11, 2017 10:51pm

@Vikas Pakistan has produced some of the best players in the world cup and have won both the one day world cup and T20 world cup , its just a phase , it's just a phase , Our team (India) has not been winning all the overseas series as well , So lets not get so judgmental about the Pakistan cricket team .

Ali Jan 12, 2017 12:26am

@Ahmed Asif Have you ever played test cricket? Sohail Khan is not fit to play it, please read Jarrod kinbers article Sharjeel does not have the technique to play test match, he can not stay on the wicket and anchor an innings

Umar Khitab Jan 12, 2017 04:23am

This experiment was destined to fail from the start, it's how long the Sethi Shahriyar duo would escape their charge sheet of murdering cricket in Pakistan.

AJ Jan 12, 2017 08:41am

Teams would do better on overseas trips if it has a little more time to adapt to local conditions that means a few more practice games and one day & T20 series before the test matches. The home sides want to get over with the tests series before the visitors have a chance to even understand the conditions. It's easy to criticize the players and team management for poor performance on overseas trips but board should take the blame for their shortcomings and basically agreeing to things without understanding the implication of their decisions. Having said that, I thought Pakistan was unlucky to be the unfortunate side batting in raining conditions and towards the end of day's play and bowling when it was scorching hot and no swing/ spin available but then you make your own fortunes like Aussies displayed by taking risk in batting and declaration.

Jay Jan 12, 2017 09:18pm

In the above comments from coach, he has used a term, e.g. ' tough decisions' . I hope PCB is able to understand the real meaning of this. According to my experience, he is suggesting getting rid of some big names who are not performing. Asad Shafique , Younis Khan could be among those. I admit they had centuries on the tour but they bring a lot of unpredictability to the middle order. These kinds of players get nervous in big competitions, despite being very high caliber, and they never rise to the occasion. If you ask them to stay on the crease in order to save the match, they get out under that pressure.