Arthur frustrated by Irfan fitness issues


Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has admitted to feeling frustration over the fitness of fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who was only able to bowl one spell in the fourth ODI against England.

Irfan was called up to the squad as a replacement for the injured Mohammad Hafeez, and as a reserve player should have been training to ensure full fitness was maintained.

The quick could only send down five overs, after which he fielded for a short period, before leaving the field and not returning.

Arthur said after the game: “It’s very frustrating,

“There were checks and balances in place. He was put on standby when we selected our one-day squad, he went to the NCA and did his training. He played two 50-over games and 20-over game and was resident at the NCA for a period of a week and a half.”

The coach conceded he is still weighing up the One Day team and assessing what he has available but is working closely with chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Arthur continued: “I want to give guys opportunities and then we’ll know by the end of the tour who we can and can’t take forward.

“Irfan was a player of interest and I wanted to have a look at him go. Inzi and myself have developed a really good relationship. We speak a hell of a lot.

“I spent probably 40 minutes on the phone to him yesterday just discussing where we were and possible names who could come in in positions I’ve identified. What I am finding out is who can do a job and who can’t.”

The former South Africa coach has lauded an excellent England team, while conceding his team doesn’t have the same quality.

Arthur went on: “England are a phenomenal cricket team, power hitters all the way down, we haven’t been able to get quick starts and clear the ropes,

“We just don’t have the players to do that within our group of 15 at the moment. Those are things we need to address and bear in mind for the next series. It also gives me an opportunity to decide who we take forward and how we play our cricket. With every game that becomes clearer and clearer.”

It has been made plain to all players that Pakistan will not compromise on their zero tolerance policy for off-field issues, with Arthur unwilling to comment on the future involvement of Umar Akmal.

Arthur concluded: “They have to conform. You would like to think, and I’ve never worked with Umar so it’s all hearsay for me, that he’s learnt a lesson,

“I haven’t had any conversations with him yet. He’s a very good finisher. His form in the local T20 competition is very good so he’s putting his hand up and he’s going about his business in a fairly good way. But in terms of other off-field stuff, that will be decided at a later date and we’ll never compromise.”