LONDON: Mickey Arthur saw himself as a “lucky coach” last week when Pakistan topped the Test team rankings on the back of their commanding ten-wicket victory at The Oval in their fourth and final Test against England.
But when it comes to the 50-over format, the South African, who took over as Pakistan’s head coach just days before their tour of England began earlier this summer, isn’t at the right place at the right time.
Pakistan are languishing at number nine in the One-day International (ODI) rankings and the way they fell tamely against England in a rain-hit ODI at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Wednesday night aptly underlined the fact that Arthur’s toughest job will be to resurrect the team’s fortunes in white-ball cricket.
Wednesday’s game — Arthur’s second ODI as Pakistan’s coach — was another reminder of how much work the coach will need to do to bring the team at par with other leading sides in the two shorter formats of the game.
Pakistan consumed too many dot balls and then failed to capitalise on a reasonably good platform. They didn’t hit a single six while even fours were few and far between as the tourists inched to 260-6 — a total that was way short against an attacking England team on a good batting track.
The problem with Arthur is that the 15-man squad he has for the ongoing ODI series doesn’t give him much room for experimentation.
But he promised on Friday that Pakistan will begin a rebuilding process as soon as they arrive home after the current series which ends on September 7.
“We are going to build a team that we think can compete in a year or two,” he said ahead of Pakistan’s second ODI against England to be played here at Lord’s on Saturday (today).
Arthur is fully aware of the fact that he will need to expand the pool of players considering that most of his current “assets” aren’t even good enough to clear the boundary.
Asked about the importance of pinch-hitters in his side, Arthur said: “If we had them it will be fantastic. Those are things I’m go to work through the next couple of weeks after this series. We have to develop some sort of branding, some sort of style. We didn’t have a single six and hit about 24 fours. A double percentage would be better. It’s something we have to work on.”
Arthur, who has had coaching stints with South Africa and Australia in the past, said that once the team lands in Pakistan after the current series, he will go through the archives of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to find new players who can perform the role of pinch-hitters in limited-over formats.
“I will go through the archives in Pakistan to see if there are some guys who can do it.”
Over the years many teams including Pakistan’s current opponents England have evolved in white-ball cricket primarily on the back of big-hitters.
But Arthur said that Pakistan will rebuild in their own way.
“We can’t use anybody’s template. We have to take our assets . Using our assets we need to find a plan to challenge England and other teams.”
Pakistan vs England 02:30pm (PST)