I will be tough on discipline with Pakistan - Arthur
Pakistan's new coach Mickey Arthur has said he will not compromise on discipline, fitness and fielding standards during his time with the side. Arthur was appointed Pakistan's coach last week, filling the position vacated by Waqar Younis in April.
The assignment with Pakistan is Arthur's third with an international side, after South Africa and Australia. While he had considerable success with South Africa, his tenure with Australia was marked by an uneasy relationship with players that culminated in the infamous homeworkgate episode on the tour of India in 2013, when four players were axed for ignoring team orders. Arthur, who is expected to take over by the end of the month, stressed that discipline would bring better results for Pakistan.
"I will be tough on discipline and that's the way we can get better and better results," he said. "I want everybody to start playing for the team and I don't want any selfish players around.
"Our bowling is good, but we need to lift our batting massively. I will also be tough on fielding and fitness, and need players who can play long term, and these issues are non-negotiable. I also want players who aren't prepared to be bullied."
Discipline and fitness have been problem areas for Pakistan, who have slipped down the ICC rankings in limited-overs cricket. Earlier this month, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal were left out of the training camp for the England tour on disciplinary grounds. Waqar's report following Pakistan's early exit from the World T20 had also highlighted concerns around Shehzad and Akmal's attitudes, and the former coach had suggested the pair should be made to re-earn their place in the national squad with performances in domestic cricket.
Ranked No. 9 in ODIs after the ICC's annual update, Pakistan have won only three bilateral series in the format since December 2013, of which two were against Zimbabwe. They were quarter-finalists in the 2015 World Cup but suffered early exits in the 2016 World T20 and the Asia Cup in February this year. They are currently ranked No. 7 in T20Is.
Pakistan will travel to England and Ireland in July and September, where they are scheduled to play four Tests, five ODIs and one T20I against England, and two one-day matches against Ireland. Arthur admitted the conditions would challenge the Pakistan players.
"For Pakistan players, those conditions are trying, but I want the team to be up for the challenge. Without a doubt we will go to win ... If the players show improvement, then I know I am doing my job."