London: Pakistan has appealed to fans not to look at the national cricket team’s exit from the World Cup with a negative mindset, but encourage the youngsters instead.
Though Pakistan defeated Bangladesh at the Lord’s on Friday, the fact that their team is not among the last four has evoked heavy criticism and coach Mickey Arthur had a tough time responding to the volley of questions — especially as to who should be held responsible for this debacle.
“Pakistan has finished at number five and back home in Pakistan, people who love cricket, who follow cricket are criticising the team’s performance. According to them, this is a flop show,” Coach Arthur was asked, to which his instant response was: “Sounds like the glass is half empty.”
When prodded further on who should be held responsible, the captain or the coach, Arthur said: “Against Afghanistan, we got two points, didn’t we? I think we managed to win that game. That’s the glass half-full, glass half empty. That’s exactly what I was saying earlier about our media. Let’s give these guys a little compliment, rather than looking at the negative. We’re all responsible. I sit here responsible for it. The captain is responsible. We’re all responsible for the fact we didn’t get to the semi-final but let’s not overlook some of the good things the guys have done. Let’s try to stay positive on this. It’s always negative.”
Arthur’s contract as a coach is up for renewal after the World Cup. Is he considering continuing?
And if yes, what message would he like to convey to the team and the country?
“Without giving away anything,” Arthur said: “There’s going to be a review now, and we’ll see how that goes. My message, again, is let’s stay positive. We’ve got some very young cricketers who are going to be champion players. Let’s back them. Let’s support them because they’re going to be very, very good.”
According to the coach, his players have made many proud.
“The supporters in England have been amazing. My message to the players tonight is they’ve made a lot of people very proud. At an average age of 24, I think we’re the youngest team by a long way in this competition, and that is something that we can be proud of. And that augurs well for the future of Pakistan cricket.”
Although the mood in the dressing room was not upbeat, Arthur believes the team can leave this tournament with their heads high.
“It is a disappointed dressing room at the moment. There’s no high fives or congratulations going on because we haven’t qualified. But the guys have worked unbelievably hard and played some very fine cricket. If you were to watch a highlight package of the World Cup, there’s going to be a lot of Pakistan players on it.”
The coach also had some great words of praise for the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad.
“I would like to credit the captain, Sarfaraz. After all the flak post the loss to India, he held his composure quite remarkably. I wonder whether any captain would have been through like what Sarfraz had to deal with but he continued to lead from the front, his work ethics never changed and was more determined than ever as the tournament progressed. I think he’s been an inspiration to the dressing room and for sure a lot of credit must go to him.”
Summing up their World Cup journey, Arthur noted that their first match loss to the Windies made all the difference.
“If we go back to the West Indies game, when you lose like the way we lost, it’s almost impossible to get back on the net run-rate. So that was a disappointing start.”