Basic errors the big worry for Pakistan coach Arthur


Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur admitted to serious concerns over his team's ability to do the basics right after they were thumped by rivals India in their opening game at the ICC Champions Trophy.

Virat Kohli's men triumphed by 124 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method after Pakistan followed an error-strewn performance in the field by being bundled out for 164 inside 34 overs.

"One team played really well, or played as well as they could have, and we were below par. It's as simple as that. And it's a reality check of where we are in our one-day cricket at the moment," said Arthur in a post-match news conference notable for some probing questioning.

"I can never ever accuse the guys of no effort. I think that's an insult, to be honest [to suggest that]. The guys tried as hard as they could. My issue is fear. My issue is 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.

"We talk about setting tone up front. 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.

"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. We don't understand when to bowl our variations. We bowled a really good over and then we bowled a variation 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 and our understanding of when to do certain things. So that was disappointing. But we'll bounce back from it."

Arthur offered a bullish response when a reporter asked why seamer Wahab Riaz, who conceded 87 from 8.4 overs, had been selected when he was not fully fit.

The coach replied: "All right. Let's get something straight first off. Wahab Riaz was fully fit. He went through a fitness test; he was declared fully fit. So it's not that Wahab Riaz was not fit. He was fit for the game. Okay?

"He performed poorly. 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 Faheem [Ashraf]. That worked really well. I thought Shadab was outstanding. So, sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

"I've got to go back and have a look at our opposition, have a look at our team, have a look at where we're at in terms of our form, and then you select a team that you think can beat the opposition you play. So, we'll do that. We'll go back again. 

"And then when we leave the dressing room tonight 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, and that's what I certainly believe our team can do."