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Sports

June 19, 2017

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With eyes on World Cup, Arthur wants more young blood

With eyes on World Cup, Arthur wants more young blood

LONDON: Soon after Pakistan’s 124-run defeat against India at Edgbaston early this month, Mickey Arthur took great offence when asked whether his team had regressed in limited-overs cricket during his one-year tenure as head coach.

He responded by saying that Pakistan were showing improvement and expressed great faith in his young side, promising that it will get better and better.

Less than two weeks later, Pakistan — who began the ICC Champions Trophy as the lowest-ranked team — were dominating India in the final of the eight-nation tournament at The Oval on Sunday.

Arthur’s Pakistan have certainly shown guts and courage with series of stunning victories.

Pakistan’s impressive showing in the Champions Trophy is the reason why their South African coach, who was in danger of losing his job had Pakistan crashed out of the tournament at the first hurdle, is now already eyeing World Cup 2019.

Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ that Arthur believes that it’s the infusion of young blood that has transformed his team from an under-achieving side to a winning unit. He is of the view that Pakistan will have to bring in more rookies to beef up weak areas like pinch-hitting and ground fielding in order to raise a line-up that is capable of winning the next World Cup to be hosted by England in the summer of 2019.

“Arthur is a great believer that a team can only move forward if it shows faith in talented young cricketers,” a source said. “He has been pushing for massive changes in how Pakistan play the limited-overs game. He wants his team to embrace the modern approach in the two shorter formats of the game.

Arthur is convinced that only talented newcomers can make Pakistan change their approach towards the game.

“He is of the view that some of Pakistan’s senior players were too set in their own ways and that it is already too late in the game for them.

“That’s why the coach wants the national selectors to pick more youngsters from the domestic circuit so that Pakistan have a bigger pool of players for World Cup 2019,” the source said.

Arthur has been buoyed up by the fact that almost all of the new faces tried by Pakistan in the last one year or so have made their presence felt at the international level.

From young pacer Hasan Ali to left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan’s young brigade has sizzled in the Champions Trophy. The duo are the chief reasons why Pakistan stormed into the final of the eight-nation tournament.

The likes of Hasan and Fakhar have allowed Arthur to gain confidence as Pakistan’s coach. Another reason why Arthur is upbeat about Pakistan’s World Cup prospects is the support he is getting from captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

“Sarfraz and Arthur have developed a great relationship and together they are clear about their goal which is to turn Pakistan into a top team,” a source said.

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