Arthur urges Pakistan to toughen up ahead of SA Tests

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has said his players must toughen up at crucial moments if they want to become a better team in Test cricket.

Arthur saw his side fall to a 123-run defeat against New Zealand in the third and deciding Test in Abu Dhabi to lose the series 2-1.

Pakistan lost all ten wickets on the final day, something that also happened in the first Test of the series which the Black Caps won by a narrow four-run margin.

Arthur said he still backs his players, especially under-fire senior batsmen Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.

The Pakistan mentor said: “The quality is there as they are the best players in Pakistan who are working very hard and I back them to the hilt.

“But we need to be tougher in the crucial moments and that comes to us grabbing moments and being tough and we could not do this in this series which is disappointing.”

“I will defend Asad and Azhar to the hilt. Asad is a wonderful player. I rate him very highly and I still feel his best days are ahead of him.”

Pakistan’s next assignment in the longest format will be a tour to South Africa where they will play three Tests against the Proteas, starting in Centurion on Boxing Day.

The Asian team have only ever won two Tests in South Africa but Arthur, who is a former Proteas coach, believes his team can do well.

He said: “I reckon we can go to South Africa and do well.

“I believe and trust in these players, we have got some very talented cricketers and some good young players.

“We need to nail down our good positions which we are not doing and that’s the problem area.”