Pakistan coach targets top four
ABU DHABI: Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur Monday set his team’s goal at attaining top four position in the one-day rankings as they target another whitewash over the West Indies.
Leading the three-match one-day international series 2-0, Pakistan looks favourite to win the third and final match in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
They beat an off-colour West Indies by 111 and 59 runs respectively in the first two matches with complete dominance.
Pakistan will replace West Indies at number eight in rankings if they win 3-0 and displace their opponents to ninth.
Hosts England and top seven teams in one-day rankings will get direct berths in the 2019 World Cup while the rest vie for the remaining two places in a qualifying tournament.
Arthur, who replaced Waqar Younis as head coach in May this year, said top four rankings was the goal.
“We don’t want to think that we have won the series so back off because we have got so many more goals as a one-day unit to achieve and to be amongst the top four is one of them,” said Arthur, also a former South African and Australia coach.
But for Athur it’s a work in progress, as Pakistan slumped to ninth after losing to Bangladesh and England twice since the 2015 World Cup.
“We have to continuously push the players as a group. We will keep hammering them so they keep getting better.
“We have to make sure to keep ticking off our goals that we set for ourselves and only then will we be comfortable that we can be get into the top, not eight, but in the top four and then sustain that so we have a lot of work to do to get there.”
Arthur was specifically pleased with Pakistan reducing the percentage of dot balls in batting.
“It’s very pleasing to see us meeting those challenges. We had 36 percent dot balls the other night (second one-day match on Sunday) which is nearly the best since I have been coaching,” said Arthur.
Pakistan had a 48 percent dot balls during their 4-1 one-day defeat in England in August-September.
Arthur believes Pakistan had put West Indies under pressure in the series.
“I would like people to write that we played well rather than say the West Indies were playing poorly because they are a good team and we put them under pressure,” said Arthur.
Arthur hoped out-of-form skipper Azhar Ali will fire.
“Watching him bat in the nets Azhar is hitting the ball very, very well,” said Arthur of Ali who was dismissed for a first-ball duck and nine in the two matches.
“He just needs a start and some time out in the middle and runs will come.”
The two teams will play three Tests after the one-day series, the first starting in Dubai (a day-night Test) from October 13.