Sharjah: Mickey Arthur, coach of the Karachi Kings as well as the Pakistan national team, is worried that his top players are fatigued and may break down due to excess of cricket before the World Cup.
Speaking after this team’s third defeat in four matches of the Pakistan Super League despite boasting of a squad comprising of top Pakistan players, he said: “It is a little bit of worry for me going forward that our players who have played for Pakistan have played for four and a half months. We are starting to see that Shaheen Shah Afridi pulled up. Babar Azam has got a little bit of a niggle, Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan are both very tired. Shadab Khan’s groin is starting to play up. These are the issues that are worrying for me and I’m talking as the head coach of Pakistan.”
Arthur said that he is in talks with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq on how to manage the workload of the players.
“We have got a series against Australia (in UAE next month) and I’m not talking out of school here because Inzi (Inzamam) and I have been talking very closely about testing our bench strength because we just need to find some time for our players that play all three formats to have a break, to go and refresh themselves, otherwise our key players in World Cup will be breaking down because we play too much cricket.”
Stressing on the fatigue factor, Arthur said: “I think we have seen that all our three-format cricketers just started to feel the pinch of fatigue, that’s mental fatigue, physical fatigue and because of that their techniques are suffering a bit.”
When asked about how he plans to lift Karachi team’s performance in the coming matches, Arthur said: “Twenty20 cricket is all about momentum. We just struggling to find the combination. We need Babar, Munro and Colin Ingram to get going and that will give us the power-hitting needed. We need that base from the top and we just haven’t got that. We are four games into the tournament and we haven’t got that. I know one thing that when our team clicks we are going to be extremely dangerous.”
Arthur believes that it takes only one splendid performance from a player of his team can change the form of the team. “The guys haven’t performed as well as they should have done. We need one guy actually just getting in and taking the lead and making sure that the others follow. So we are looking for one big performance from somebody.”
Islamabad United, which has regained their form following their captain Mohammad Sami’s hat-trick against Peshawar by sinking Karachi, has recorded their second victory.
For the match against Karachi, Sami was rested due to a leg injury and it was young Shadab that lead the team. Speaking about his team’s impressive win over Karachi, he said: “We got wickets in power-play and that was good. I am elated that I did captaincy for the first time and we won.”