Pakistan news March 11, 2017

Arthur meets Pakistan's best domestic players in Lahore


Mickey Arthur led a three-day camp in Lahore attended by the 41 best emerging players in Pakistan © AFP

For the first time since he was appointed Pakistan coach 10 months ago, Mickey Arthur met the best domestic players in the country and, after running them through a three-day camp in Lahore, he was even able to find new talents who could be fast-tracked into the national side.

"It was really good to see the full of reserve strength," Arthur told reporters at Gaddafi Stadium. "These are the guys who have performed in domestic competitions and now we can put a name and we know exactly how they've performed we've taken a lot of notes on them, so it was great, it was really nice to see it, there was some nice talent which was pleasing to see.

"Ideally, we're going to be building on this now and going forward, keep inviting these guys [for more work]. We took a couple of them out of the training camp that we saw here and we've put them onto our main group now. I think there's five guys that have come up, which is great, the guys that we think could make a significant difference to our team at the moment. This is the incentive to those young guys to keep performing all the time."

The PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan wanted Arthur to become familiar with the bench strength in Pakistan. So, the selection committee headed by former Test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq handpicked 41 cricketers to attend the training camp with Arthur. Out of this camp, fast bowlers Mohammad Abbas, Usman Khan and Amad Butt, allrounders Shadab Khan, Hussain Talat and Fahim Ashraf and batsmen Fakhar Zaman and Asif Zakir were added to a 31-member preliminary squad for the West Indies tour in March-April.

Following strength and conditioning sessions at the National Cricket Academy, the selectors will trim the roster to 16 men when they meet next Saturday.

Legspinner Shadab Khan was highly impressive in the PSL and has earned himself a place in a preliminary Pakistan squad © PCB

The PSL had also been a useful indicator of fringe talent. Shadab, for example, consistently beat batsmen with his googlies and Zaman's performance suggested he could be useful in the middle order in limited-overs cricket.

"There are lot of young players involved in the camp," Arthur said. "We certainly took cognizance how they train and how they played in the PSL. That was a real opportunity for us to see them play under pressure and a lot of guys impressed and all those guys who impressed are in the camp at the moment."

Pakistan have lost six Tests on the trot - a worrying fall considering they were No. 1 in August last year - and their one-day cricket required improvement as well, especially with regards to their ICC ranking. Currently at No. 8, they have to hold the position until September 30 to gain automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup. Arthur felt the best way to do that was by recognising their best cricketers and giving them all the backing they would need to play freely.

"For us at the moment, and certainly for Inzamam and myself, it's really key that we clock the way forward to the 2019 World Cup without chopping and changing too much and that's why you can see 31 players are going through fitness testing now.

"It's important for us that we don't chop and change because then we start giving clarity and we'll know who is available and how we can use those players. For us, it's how those players fit into the brand as well. That's really important because we need to change our brand we need to be taking on the game a bit more and those are the things which we are going to work hard more before the West Indies tour."

Arthur on the new captain Sarfraz Ahmed: The selection panel and the PCB just thought that they need to go in another direction and it is closer to the way that Safi enjoys playing © Getty Images

Arthur has been vocal about revamping the way Pakistan play limited-overs cricket. He believed they were falling behind the times, and more importantly their competition, and wanted to change that as quickly as possible.

"We need to a) identify the players; b) re-identify the brand; c) put a role for those players within that brand and hopefully they get confident and we see better results. What we do know, though, is that we need to change the way we play one-day cricket because we are playing a very conservative style of one-day cricket. This style doesn't cut in when other teams are scoring 320-340 so we need to able to match it."

There has already been a change with respect to Pakistan in ODIs. Azhar Ali, after leading the team to five series losses out of ten played, resigned in February and Sarfraz Ahmed has taken over the reins.

"I think Safi [Sarfraz] is going to come in and offer so much, but that's not to say Azhar didn't offer anything," Arthur said. "He was a very good captain, tactically and I thought he really did a good job. The selection panel and the PCB just thought that they need to go in another direction and it is closer to the way that Safi enjoys playing. He and I now have to keep driving that without a doubt."

Responding to a question about how Pakistan could improve on their consistency, Arthur said only when an athlete is in peak physical condition can he perform day in and day out. "This is what we are striving for. It actually starts at the training ground, starts around the attitude toward fitness. To be honest, we've got some work to do there as well. We went through all their fitness tests and we are a little bit off the pace. For us now it's about changing the fitness culture.

"For us now, it's going to become criteria in terms of selection going forward. The players are busy in doing fitness testing at the moment and by and large they've been fairly good which is good to see. I think in the eight months that we've been here they have sort of made significant progress, but we're still not where rest of the world is and that's something that we need to continue work all the time."

"But once we get there, it becomes easier. We are trying to drive the players to those standards. We are aiming for consistency all the time and those boys [who are not consistent] will get more and more consistent. A lot of players are challenging for places in the side. There are 31 guys in the camp and no one at the moment is certain about his position. We are going to have a 50-over game on 15 March and we are going to select two teams and after that we are going to announce a squad that is going West Indies."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ami on March 15, 2017, 14:36 GMT

    Once again bad selection by inzi...where is Fawad Alam and Sohail Khan...under performers continously getting chances like Shoaib Malik..Hafeez and now Kamran Akmal at the age of 35...this is your future planning domestic top performer and supper fit declared player Fawad Alam ignored and ignored, average fit players prefer over him...the reason best known to him...sooo saaad.

  • lisa602357948 on March 15, 2017, 4:33 GMT

    1... Don't have words to show my disgust. But, again in a country like ours how can you hope for a fair selection of cricket team. The two biggest shockers are Mohammad Hafeez & Kamran Akmal. As for Mohammad Hafeez, can just bang your head on the walls and go crazy asking questions that what he has done to deserve to be in the team ????? All hopes are gone. Now the whole nation should hold special prayers when they go for Umrah and Hajj to get rid of M. Hafeez. Ahmad Shahzad, Umar Akmal, Rahat Ali and Sohail Tanveer have all got more than enough chances and their performances does not merit selection. Unlike most of them, atleast everyone know Shan Masood's connection, that how he got into the team. He has had his chances and is just not good enough. Saad Ali, and Rumman Raees are not upto the mark and they are just a waste of space.

  • T on March 15, 2017, 3:48 GMT

    JAN 7, 2010 I would give Wolverine a set of inners [gloves] and back him to catch more with those hands.

    Kerry O'Keeffe on Kamran Akmal after the Pakistan wicketkeeper dropped four catches during the second innings at the SCG

  • molab14586992 on March 14, 2017, 20:25 GMT

    We need abdul razzaq the razzler at no 7 imagine this team 1:Anwar 2:Sarfraz ahmed 3:Babar azam 4:Mohammed yousaf 5:Inzamam 6:Ijaz 7:Razzaq 8:Afridi 9:Wasim 10:Saqlain 11:Waqar

  • coolgr2954479 on March 14, 2017, 14:59 GMT

    i still think anwar ali should have been added to westindies odi team and that's so very important he will improve with each series he is already better than ammad butt rahat ali and sohail tanvir the new guy fahim is not as good as anwar ali, all he needs is confidence and that must come from captain and coach he is a match winner.

  • Waseem on March 14, 2017, 9:49 GMT

    @Cricket_Master_Mind: You're saying that Fawad Alam (31yrs) and Sadaf Hussain (27yrs) are history while we've got Misbah playing at the age of 42. Oh, the irony is unmistakable. PSL is not the only criteria to judge the best players of domestic circuit. I can name many players from domestic who are way better than the players selected for PSL, but they couldn't find team owners' attention. PSL is only a T20 league, nothing more nothing less. Also, it has a limitation on no. of players due to only 5 teams. Good performers of PSL may be good in T20 cricket but not necessarily for ODIs or Tests. These are totally different. When preparing a team for 2019 World Cup, selecting players only on the basis of PSL will surely backfire big time.

  • molab14586992 on March 13, 2017, 16:11 GMT

    Wasim akram talks about Amad butt non stop Amad butt of what i saw of him doesnt have enough skills in both departments of the game its either batting alrounder or bowling alrounder not just a half complete alrounder but he is still young and by 25-26 expect him to be in the squad in the coming years A future one day team without current players 1:Khurram 2:Fakhar 3:Abdul rehman muzammil 4:Saad ali 5:Maqsood* 6:Umair masood (WK)7:Amad butt 8:Yamin 9:Zafar Gohar10:Sameen gul 11:Mir Hamza

  • sarfraz on March 13, 2017, 12:39 GMT

    fawad alam is one of the best bit again ignored pl.give a chance

  • Alireh8838775 on March 13, 2017, 10:13 GMT

    Bet half of these are 30+ year old flops who will eventually get into the side after the current lot like hafeez go

  • Muhammad on March 13, 2017, 9:54 GMT

    @WASEEM.BUKHARI they are history please move on! If they were that good why no PSL franchise picked them ever? Please stop doing proxy commenting. PCB is looking to develop under 22 players which is good let them do that. At the moment Pakistan needs 2 good Fast Bowling alrounders. lilke A.Razaq If you have any please refer here?

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