Pakistan’s head Coach Mickey Arthur has minced no words in giving a loud and clear message to his struggling one-day players ahead of the second one-day international against England on Saturday – step up or we find somebody else who can step in.
Pakistan went down by 44 runs on Duckworth-Lewis Method in the first day-night game at Southampton on Wednesday and judging by their old style of play look no way near to an imperious England.
Arthur, under whom Pakistan drew the four-match Test series 2-2, came down hard on the players and urged them to pull up their socks.
“The instruction is to all the players are to step up or we find somebody else who can step in. It’s as simple as that, we will find the players with the style which can be fairly attractive and don’t leave us behind the rest of the teams in the world,” said Arthur on Friday.
Pakistan managed 260-6 in their 50 overs with skipper Azhar Ali scoring a slow 110-ball 82 and Sarfraz Ahmed 55. England were lifted by half-centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root when rain abandoned the match with England 194-3, ahead on DL Method.
Arthur said there were some positives in that defeat.
“There were certainly some areas we were happy with. That was my first ODI with Pakistan so everything I heard was on view, we had a real good chat this morning and got an idea as to how we can put this right.
“We have got nothing to lose so I want to see the guys to go out and express themselves and with some freedom. I think playing like we did the other night we were behind all the time. We had a good chat so hopefully we will start putting into that in operation and get more confidence with the style we want to play.”
Arthur said the plan is to use the ability to the best effect.
“We got to take our assets and use them to the best effect. We have got to set some plans and challenge teams like England and use players as we want. It will take some time, as I have said, we have nothing to lose. We not gonna stop, we gonna bowl the team out.”
Arthur said no player should feel safe in this ODI team, answering a question on out of form Mohammad Hafeez, dropped from the last Test as well.
“I said to the players that nobody is safe and if you are over30, I am afraid you have to come to the table more often than not otherwise it gives us an opportunity to blood some younger players.
“Nobody is safe in this one-day side and they need to step up and whether it’s as drastic as that tomorrow, possibly not but everybody knows that.”
Arthur admitted leg-spinner Yasir Shah can be an option.
“Yasir is an option, without a doubt and we have got to find a way to include him. We need wickets in the middle and wickets will be key particularly against the side like England which bats that deep and we can only stop them scoring is by taking wickets and we have to do that and that’s why Yasir becomes a big consideration.”
Arthur defended skipper Azhar Ali, criticized by experts for his lack of attacking when using his bowlers and in field placing.
“I think we have got to realise that he is a youngish captain. We talked this morning that we need wickets the other night and probably we needed to attack just a little bit more and we need to do that as we evolve and otherwise.
“Azhar is a fantastic captain and he can develop into a very good captain. The good thing about him is that he listens, so we need to focus on more wickets,” said Arthur who hoped paceman Mohammad Amir will be fit to play after struggling with calf injury.
“I am not 100 percent sure yet. He is going to run in the nets. The physio thinks it’s not serious, it was a cramp so we have to see the session and we hope he will be fully fit.”