India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, Group B, Edgbaston June 4, 2017

Heavy loss a 'reality check' - Arthur


Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur attempted to rally his side during a break in play but mistakes continued © Getty Images

A crushing victory at the hands of India has given Pakistan a "reality check" according to their coach Mickey Arthur.

Saying that "the magnitude of the occasion" had got to his team, Arthur admitted they did the simple things wrong as they were thrashed by 124 runs in their 2017 Champions Trophy opener on Sunday. It leaves them requiring victories from their final two games against Sri Lanka and South Africa to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

"We were below par," Arthur said. "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."

Pakistan's fielding was particularly poor - they dropped several chances and their ground fielding was sloppy - with Arthur suggesting early errors set the tone for a bitterly disappointing performance.

"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."

There was also concern over the fitness of several Pakistan players. Mohammad Amir had to leave the field after one ball in what would have been his ninth over, the 44th, after an attack of cramp - something of a surprise on a rainy day in Birmingham. Wahab Riaz finished that over for Amir but his miserable game ended early when he twisted his ankle on the fifth ball of the 46th, an injury which not only left him unable to finish the over but prevented him from coming out to bat at the end of Pakistan's innings. Hasan Ali also suffered an attack of cramp.

"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. So, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."

Despite the poor outing, Arthur defended Pakistan's record in recent times and insisted the team should not be judged on one bad day.

"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.

"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."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on June 6, 2017, 4:50 GMT

    I am not sure why coach is criticsed, the culture this team is in because the recent coaches pakistan has before arthur, no coach can do miracles with the talent on hand, sarfaraz captaincy was not good, he has to stop shouting at players first, pakistan made many errors beacsue mental lapses not believing in them selves, what do we expect from these players who have very long record of mediocrity, if you don't have talent bring players who can learn be patient with them to loose 20 odi but gauge their progress this only way. Build batting to score 320-350 on regular basis. I think pak bowling is on par with other teams and could have bad days like other but you could win with batting, pak always relied on bowling to win games that has to change as rules in odi are stacked against bowlers, you need to bat other team out of game that is modern day odi and t20. Fitness is key to accomplish these. Pcb has to get rid of most batting only malik is capable of playing at high level.

  • Pakistan Cricket Solution on June 6, 2017, 2:26 GMT

    Problem was not only in the selection & captaincy, but also in the game plan which is being made outside the field.So Mr.Arthur, you are again a failure as being the coach of Australian team, which failed to pass the first round in previous CT.

  • cricfan89207213 on June 5, 2017, 22:25 GMT

    Change the whole squad make Shoaib Malik captain till WC19 and give him total new squad of aggressive players with Sangakkara or Jayawardene as a coach and go on to play against bd for 5 odi to try them out. I suggest this squad 1 Sharjeel 2 Fakhar 3 Babar 4 Malik (c) 5 Umar akmal (wk) 6 Mukhtar Ahmed 7 Amer Yamin 8 Shadab 9 Aamir

  • deshwani on June 5, 2017, 22:01 GMT

    Mr Mickey actually you are not able to coach any international team... you made Pakistan more down by selecting your fav players those are actually poor.. You are here just to give statement but doesn't apply it in practice sessions.. Inzi selected a bad team and leave many talented players over poor and non-performers! Anyway, you would have chosen a good playing eleven from those.. There would have been a big change in this match if playing eleven were: Fakhar Zaman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Babar Azam, M. Hafeez, Haris Sohail, S. Malik, Fahim Ashraf, Shadab Khan, M. Aamir, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan

  • HamzaSalman on June 5, 2017, 21:55 GMT

    All talk and no performance. He's the coach, not someone hired to summarize in neat English why team has not being doing well. A plethora of excuses cannot mask glaring failures of omission and commission from the administration.

  • cricfan6328665730 on June 5, 2017, 18:33 GMT

    wow! After 3 years it eventually dawned on Mickey - hopefully resurrections is round the corner!

  •   Rana Faisal Rauf on June 5, 2017, 17:40 GMT

    ARROW011: We know that India is better than Pakistan. But that does not mean India will always win. So, if you want to be flattered, that's your problem. We don't need to praise India. We would like to find fault within ourselves rather than focusing on India.

    Pak team lost badly, that means we need to focus on our player's shortcoming. So, don't try to direct us how we should react to this defeat.

  • cvenka on June 5, 2017, 17:13 GMT

    A very pathetic statement from the coach. Not a word about the winning team. It is as though pak contrived to lose because of its own issues meaning that it would have won had these issues were addressed. And in regard to achiements he said pak achieved the ranking of 8 from 9. Mr micky you think on what basis with a ranking of 8 you can compete with higher ranking teams with so many issues you yourself have highlighted? You have a captain who selects bowling under overcast conditions where the batsman could not even touch the ball in the first over but were let-off the hook with a spinner operating defensively for whatsoever reason. You have fielders who drop sitters and a bowler who sprays the ball over after over. My dear micky the problem confounding pak is that they are not yet updated to the modern day cricket, pure and simple. Address that. Success will follow. By modern day cricket I mean fielding drillings,batting techniques improvisation, bowling on the spot repeatedly.

  • dmartens on June 5, 2017, 16:46 GMT

    Sarfaraz is not the answer for Pakistan's woes. He is not a role model or a good leader. He succumbs under pressure and makes everyone else in the team feel the same way! First and foremost, they need to get rid of Wahab, Imad, and Shadab. Wahab has become a liability over the years and he has been hit all over. Imad is too over rated plus spinners will not be any good in English conditions. Pakistan must play four seamers. Shoaib and Hafeez can share the responsibilities of fifth bowlers. Babar Azam has started to slack his cousin Umer Akmal. He probably needs a pep talk.

  • YouHaven'tLivedUntilYouLoveCricket on June 5, 2017, 16:14 GMT

    We have short term memories. Only 4 years ago in 2013, we thrashed India in their backyard and won the ODI series 2-1. Kohli, Dhoni, Yuyraj, Rahane, Ashwin, Jadeda, Kumar were in Indian team. Thats more than 60% of their current team. We had Azhar, Shaoib, Junaid in that team too and it was led by Misbah! They had lost 8 away test series and home series. They were a mess and their fans were yelling for their heads. Junaid was playing havoc with their batting line up and we got them all out for 227, 165 and 167 in 3 games!

    What has changed? Some faces on both sides. So it must be that there are other factors together with few players that played a part . Now everyone is talking of a big difference between 2 teams. Indian fielding has improved but they were a mess in yesterday's game. Pakistan's fielding has been the same. In 2013, we were playing outside Pak and it stands the same. So that excuse doesn't hold much ground. Maybe Misbah was winning us games? Food for thought :)

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