Pakistan play 10 ODIs before the coveted tournament – five against Aussies in the UAE and five against England in May – and Arthur believes that chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has 19 players in mind, from whom the 15-man squad for the World Cup could be picked.
"Inzi and I have been on the same page for a long while here. I've told the boys in the dressing room the same thing the other night," Arthur said in Lahore after returning from South Africa.
"I think we've got probably 19 players for 15 positions. PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about.
We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England, obviously we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles and role clarity is particularly important."
The Pakistani coach also stressed on the need of having two game plans for the English conditions as the weather there is “very unpredictable”.
"The other thing that's important for us is having an option with two game plans," Arthur said. "I'm saying two game plans because the weather in England at any given time is very unpredictable, so we need an option where we have our spinners, who are able to suffocate through the middle [overs] because the key for us to win one-day games is about taking wickets through that middle period.
"Either we do that with two spinners or little bit of reverse-swing if the weather stays dry, or if the weather is wet over that period of time there we have to have an option of a seam-bowling all-rounder who can come in and bat at No. 7 for us. So we're very close, we've covered all our bases in terms of our personnel at the moment."
Pakistan’s recent ODI form has been far from impressive and in 27 ODIs after their Champions Trophy victory in 2017, they have managed to win only 15. The Sarfraz Ahmed led-side had an ordinary series against South Africa too where they lost the Tests 3-0, ODIs 3-2 and T20Is 2-1.
Looking back at the South Africa tour, Arthur said, “I just think it is really important that I reiterate how proud I am of the cricket team.
"We were two months away on the road. Four-and-a-half months away is a hell of a long time and the intensity and the passion that these guys trained with has been fantastic.
"We've played the most cricket over the last four-and-a-half months than any other team in the world. I'm not using it as an excuse because that's the way it is. We've got to handle that."
Even though Sarfraz’s batting form has been under scrutiny, Arthur said that he has been exceptional in his roles as a skipper and wicket-keeper.
"Understand that Sarfaraz's first and foremost thing is captain and wicket-keeper, people forget wicket-keeping is a specialist position. Sarfaraz's numbers over the last four-and-a-half months are mind-blowing, one catch dropped, one stumping missed. He's dropped eight balls in four-and-a-half months, so he is not out of form in his core job. His core job is to keep wickets and to take the catches and make the stumpings.
“I want to reiterate I am not worried about Sarfaraz's form. Sarfaraz Ahmed is a very very good cricketer. He and I work incredibly close together, we've got very close working relationship, as good as I had with any captain. I just need to put that to bed.”
First Published: February 9, 2019, 10:21 AM IST