Pakistan’s consistent rise in limited-overs cricket has understandably made Mickey Arthur a happy man, and he hoped that the team continued to go from strength to strength and be a force at the 2019 50-over World Cup.
Pakistan whitewashed Sri Lanka 5-0 recently in the One-Day International series and then 3-0 in the Twenty20 International series to add to their reputation after the Champions Trophy triumph in the UK this year. It was followed by their rise to the top of T20I rankings – the first time since the rankings were introduced in the shortest format in 2011.
Arthur felt the rise was due to the work ethics within the team and working out roles for every player. “It does excite me,” Arthur told Wisden Pakistan. “I am very excited at our white-ball status. If you look at the rise, it’s been pretty significant. Our brand of cricket has changed. Everyone knows his role and the goal-setting has changed.
“It’s been a really good ride for over a year. I hope it goes from strength to strength. I am sure that we will be a significant force at the 2019 World Cup.”
On Imad Wasim taking over as Karachi Kings captain
“It’s good to see him as captain. The PSL will give him a good platform. He has done captaincy at the Under-19 level and he is a guy who knows cricket. It’s pretty exciting, he thinks about the game and I am pretty excited at the prospect of him growing as a potential leader.”
India’s 2-1 series win over New Zealand the other day helped Pakistan jump to the top of the T20I ladder, which Arthur described as “significant”.
“That’s also pretty significant. We have won 12 of the 14 Twenty20s and that’s good. That’s an unbelievable record and I think the rankings now probably reflect the good work that the team has done under a very good leadership of Sarfraz (Ahmed),” said Arthur.
“It’s an attacking brand of cricket that has taken us to No. 1. It’s a great achievement, but for us it’s about maintaining standards and creating new goals and new standards to keep us together as a team.”
Despite the consistent performances, Arthur felt the team was still missing an attacking batsman at the top.
“Our batting unit has come together pretty well. We have got some quality batsmen. Shoaib Malik has been outstanding, (Mohammad) Hafeez, Sarfraz … they have come through well. I guess the only worry for me is that if Fakhar Zaman, who takes the game on early, gets out early, we become a little bit one-paced,” pointed out Arthur.
“That would be the one shortcoming I see, so we need to develop somebody who can be like Fakhar and take the game on, so that’s only area we need to look at and strengthen.”
Arthur admitted a strong bench was the goal when he took up the job in June last year. “I think it is one of the priorities to build the bench strength so when we got to World Cup 2019 our bench players had played significant amount of matches so we can have three-four different style of bowlers in the line up,” he said.
“We got left-arm quick, left-arm swing, we have right-arm quick, the No. 1 Twenty20 and No. 1 ODI bowlers and an outstanding legspinner and we’ve got Hafeez who bowls well, we got Imad Wasim, so it’s an outstanding attack. We can counter the opposition and that makes it the best all-round attack in the world.”