We need to play fearlessly to improve our ODI ranking

Pakistan cricket coach Mickey Arthur has said the team needs to start playing fearlessly if it is to have any hopes of succeeding in one-day cricket.The coach said the team was far behind in ODI rankings and its outdated style of ODI cricket was to blame for its number nine ranking in the 50-over format of the game.

“We can’t play that brand of cricket anymore. We have got to be brave. You have got to take the game on,” he said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo. Mickey Arthur expressed frustration over Mohammad Irfan’s fitness, saying that he was a good bowler but clearly not fit to play ODI cricket. He added that fitness is the most important criterion for one-day cricket.

“Fitness is the biggest problem plaguing Pakistan team,” he said, adding that whoever does not meet the fitness standards will be dropped from the side.

He said he would need to make some tough decisions for the betterment of the team.

The coach further said Azhar Ali is a good batsman and is grooming with time. He also praised Shoaib Malik’s recent performance, noting the batsman’s innings of 77 against England at Cardiff in the final ODI of the series.

Mickey Arthur said he is trying to streamline Pakistan cricket and that he hoped the Pakistan Cricket Board would allow him time to do so.

There are only 14 ODIs scheduled before the September 30, 2017 deadline. If Pakistan fail to improve their ranking they would be required to compete in a qualifying tournament in April 2018. Ten teams would go in but only two teams would go through.

Pakistan’s number nine ranking in ODIs is in sharp contrast to the team’s top ranking in Tests. The ICC will present the Test mace to Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq on September 21.


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