Fielding and fitness levels not negotiable

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Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur says he wants to improve the team’s levels of fitness and their performance in the field with a view to lifting the team as a whole.

Arthur indicated that he would wear his heart on his sleeve in his tenure as coach and if he is frustrated it will be evident to all.

The coach told PakPassion.net: “I wear my heart on the sleeve and I certainly don’t beat around the bush and hide things in these matters. Coming to those television pictures, yes, I was extremely frustrated during the ODI series in England.

“For example, at Headingley in the fourth ODI, we were just one wicket away from getting a result that would have given us confidence in the brand of cricket that we wanted to play.

“If you look at where we started in Southampton in the first ODI and where we finished in Cardiff, there was a lot of work which went in there.

“So, at Headingley we were keen to get over the line as that reinforces the brand of cricket we want to play and the work we are putting in. I was very keen to see us do that and was immensely frustrated for several reasons.

“I wanted to solidify what we had been doing and I wanted the guys to get confidence out of that. As you know I have been vocal about the fact that fitness and fielding are the two biggest challenges that Pakistan face.

“I get very excited when the West Indies management tell me that this is the fittest Pakistan team they have ever seen. But I do know that we have some way to go in terms of achieving higher standards.

“When we are not finishing off games because we are not fit enough or strong enough to do that then I do get frustrated and vent my feelings as we saw.

“I always say that batting and bowling are not measurable as some guy may get out for nought or you may bowl your best ball and get hit for four. Fielding and fitness, we can measure and those are non-negotiable.

“Gone are the days when you could be rocking up to the team and be not fit. Gone are the days that guys would come into the team and sit in their comfort zones.

“We are now setting up proper standards and these are comparable to most international teams around the world. We cannot rely just on skill any more. Skill will only get you so far.”

Arthur lauded the work done by Waqar Younis that has led to him inheriting a settled and balanced Test and was grateful for the presence of an experienced captain in Misbah-ul-Haq.

The South African coach said: “Misbah has been outstanding with the work he has done with the team as has my predecessor Waqar Younis who did a great job with the Test team. The Test team I inherited was left to me in a very good state.

“But, I don’t like just keeping it in a good state, I believe in continually improving ourselves and in continuing to improve our product. That is my role.

“So, I am constantly challenged and trying to improve each of the players five or ten percent better and if we can do that, we get five or ten percent more output which will make them a formidable unit.

“I am also enjoying working with the One-Day team as our white ball cricket needs a lot of work. We have changed the brand of our One-Day game where we are having the guys play a more expansive game.

“They have taken that on-board and are working extremely hard and that seems to be working out nicely as well.”

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