After his team suffered a 4-0 loss to England in their last ODI series before the World Cup, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said that the one area where the team needed to improve was in the field.
Pakistan’s fielding standards improved under ex-fielding coach Steve Rixon, who departed recently upon the conclusion of his two-year tenure and Arthur believes it to be one of the reasons for the drop in standards in the field.
“That (the fielding) has been a massive difference between the two sides. At Southampton and Nottingham, it was anybody's game going into the last five overs. We competed really well. The one difference has been our fielding and that's a real worry for me,” said Arthur.
"We are putting in a hell lot of an effort in it and there's not a massive amount of reward there for us at the moment. We will just keep knocking away to make sure that we get it up to the speed because we have a couple of young, new players who weren't a part of that regime which we equipped to be the best as we can. So we are trying to put things up and bring them up to the speed as quick as we can.
“Stumper' (Steve Rixon) did a great job for us and Grant Bradburn (current fielding coach) is doing a wonderful job. Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding throughout this series and in the years before. They know where they're short and they are not happy about it.”
Asked if the series defeat served as a reality check for Pakistan before the much anticipated World Cup, Arthur referenced Pakistan’s defeat to India in the group stages of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston. He said that unlike that 124-run loss where it was hard for him to take any positives, there were areas of his team’s performance which left him satisfied.
"We sit here and take a hell lot of the positives out of this series. Our batting has gone to another level and we have batted extremely well. That's given our dressing room a massive amount of confidence. When we were coming to England, people were saying we were a 280 team. I am taking a fair amount of positives certainly in that department out of this series.
"Our bowling and fielding has been average at best. Another thing is that we played against a team which is number one in their own conditions. I don't think there are too many other teams around in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we played against and match fitness, which is something very important.
"Though we need to sharpen up in certain disciplines but I am very confident with the team I have and I am very confident that we will get there and we will be good. The players are very determined to do well. Every time they go out in the middle they play for 210 million people. We all take defeat in a very disappointing way as our supporter base do."
Arthur was also asked about pacer Mohammad Amir and whether he will be included in the Pakistan squad for the World Cup. The squad is expected to be finalized on Monday after Arthur engages with chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.
"Mohammad Amir trained yesterday for the first time. He had 25 minutes on bike and had a gym session. He had another one today so If selected he'd be ready to go,” Arthur said.