After a second successive batting failure against India, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has suggested his players are suffering from a confidence crisis.
After India made short work of Pakistan’s target of 238 in yesterday’s Super Four match against India (which India won by nine wickets), Arthur revealed that he believed his side’s struggles were down to a lack of confidence.
Pakistan’s previous match against India saw them bundled out for a disastrous 162 in 43.1 overs.
‘They’re suffering a confidence crisis at the moment. There’s a little bit of fear of failure in the dressing room … a bit of a reality check for exactly where we are as a cricket team,’ said Arthur said. ‘In terms of the worst performance, this has got to be up there, but we’re on a journey. We’ll get better and stronger than this.
‘We know cricket is a confidence game, look at Fakhar Zaman. He’s an incredible player, an X-factor player, and we expect him to take the game on at the top of the order, but he’s doubting his game a little at the moment. We’ve got to just ride the wave with him. If we do that, when he comes out, he’ll be a better player for this.’
Arthur added that the experience of working through the tough times his team have endured with the bat (and in the field) in the Asia Cup would stand his young side in good stead looking ahead to the matches leading up to the World Cup.
‘It’s a confidence thing. Certainly, in terms of the amount of work these guys have put in, it’s second to none. These guys work every day on their catching, but the minute one goes down, it’s kind of like a disease. It catches off and catches on. It takes one good catch, one good innings or a five-for to turn it around and we will get the confidence back then. We’ve got to trust the skills to come out in the end. We’ve banked the work. It’s time for that to pay off,’ added Arthur.
Arthur also dispelled questions about the team’s decision-making in key moments against India in particular.
‘I have heard from the outside how we should’ve bowled first here, first there, but we look at how best we can win. We believe if we can get runs on the board and strike with the new ball, we can put India under pressure. We don’t want to expose our middle order against their spinners in a run chase, it’s going to just get bigger and bigger and bigger and our batsmen are going to get under pressure even more,’ said Arthur.
If Pakistan beat Bangladesh in their next match on Wednesday, they will be in with a chance of meeting India in the Asia Cup final on Friday, and if Arthur can get his talented players firing in time for that, then there’s every chance they could upset the form book against India.
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