Australia v Pakistan ODIs
'We're way behind the pack' says Arthur
Pakistan coach says while his side had no answer for David Warner, they needed to dramatically improve their fielding
27 January 2017, 03:52 PM AEST
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has identified two key culprits to carry a bulk of the responsibility for his team's underwhelming Australia tour that delivered a solitary win from eight international outings.
The first was an ineptitude in the field that plumbed its low point with an embarrassing display of misfields and muffed catches in the penultimate VB Series ODI fixture at the SCG last weekend.
The second was Australia opener David Warner.
In the wake of yesterday's 57-run ODI loss to Australia in Adelaide – which consigned the tourists to a 4-1 VB Series defeat to sit alongside their 3-0 Commonwealth Bank Test Series whitewash – Arthur found some encouragement from the team's failed campaign.
The batting in both formats was especially pleasing to the eye of the former Australia and South Africa coach who has been in charge of Pakistan since mid-2016, in light of the struggles that Asian nations historically have found on faster, bouncier Australia pitches.
Arthur was particularly enthused by the ODI efforts of 22-year-old No.3 batter Babar Azam after the right-hander struggled in the Test arena, and the progress made by aggressive opener Sharjeel Khan in the white-ball matches.
And he felt the bowlers preformed their roles quite well on balance, but were let down by shoddy fielding and a litany of missed chances that had almost reached epidemic proportions by tour's end.
"Believe it or not, we've worked extremely hard at our fielding," Arthur said as he prepared to return to his home in Perth and most of his players headed to the UAE where the Pakistan Super League T20 competition begins next month.
"Me and my support staff have been around for about seven months, and that's been a focus and priority – fitness levels have improved dramatically in terms of our day-to-day reports.
"But we're way behind the rest of the pack.
"So fitness and fielding again is going to be total priority before we go to the West Indies (later in the year).
"We'll have time to put in a camp after the PSL, and we'll put in a helluva lot of work in that regard because we're just not up to the mark in those two areas.
"With the ball, with the bat, we compete perfectly well.
"Results-wise, it has been disappointing (Australia tour). We came here thinking we had a real chance, certainly in the Test matches.
"We're still a fledgling one-day side, there are some gaps in our one-day side that we need to work hard to fill.
"We're ranked eight (on the ICC ladder) at the moment, and I think you could see the gap between eight and one (Australia)."
The other problem that Pakistan was unable to find a solution for was Warner, who ruthlessly dealt with the new ball and a seam bowling attack that was foreshadowed as the tourists' trump card before their arrival in Australia.
In seven Test innings, Warner scored 356 runs at 71.2 with rapid-fire centuries in Melbourne and Sydney.
An output that he cranked even higher when the ODI matches started, blasting 367 runs at 73.4 from five innings that concluded with back-to-back hundreds in Sydney and Adelaide.
The latter setting a new personal best for the insatiable left-hander who clubbed his fastest-ever ODI century (from 78 balls) and was involved in an Australia record opening stand of 284 with Travis Head before Warner was dismissed for 179.
"We saw the difference here, Davey Warner gets in and gets 130 the other day (in Sydney) and 170-odd (yesterday)," Arthur noted after Pakistan had conceded the highest ODI total at the Adelaide Oval.
"And he gets it very, very quick.
"That's the difference between chasing 310 and chasing 370-odd. And at 370-odd, we've got to play out of our skin to get anywhere close.
"So Davey Warner and our fielding has probably been the key difference between the teams."