First T20I: Pakistan to fight batting demons, New Zealand

Sarfraz’s men will be looking to avenge 5-0 ODI whitewash in upcoming three-match series


Sports Desk January 21, 2018
AGE OLD PROBLEM: Batting has always been Pakistan’s biggest problem on foreign tours and Mickey Arthur, but Mickey Arthur says it can’t be used as an excuse and they’ll try to improve things in the T20Is. PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

Pakistan will be looking to avenge a 5-0 ODI whitewash as they take on New Zealand on Monday in the first of the three-match T20I series at Wellington.

Also, Pakistan are on a three-match losing streak against the Kiwis in the shortest format and will be looking to avoid the same fate which they witnessed in the ODIs, which head coach Mickey Arthur believes was because of the top-order batting failure.

"They've got the ability and without wanting to look for excuses, they need to get better in these conditions," Arthur said, as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. "Our guys need to step up, that's the bottom line. Our top-order hasn't done a job for us in the series and that's a pity. Haris Sohail coming in gave us some stability, and he showed us how to apply ones self in these conditions."

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Pakistan were seen playing catch-up in the ODI series after not being able to get prolific or even decent starts due to losing early wickets and Arthur believes team needs to put their games faces on since the World Cup is just 18 months away.

"With the World Cup coming up in a year's time, it's important now that the next one-day team we play is a team that we really believe can shake the World Cup up,” he said. “It's not discrediting to the players in the dressing room because they have tried exceptionally hard, but we do need to reassess where we go to make sure we get it right next time when we come out, particularly in foreign conditions."

‘Don’t write youngsters off’

Pakistan’s young talent, which led them to the Champions Trophy triumph, were able to produce not match-winning but considerable performances against New Zealand in the lost cause, and Arthur believes writing them off just yet would be wrong.

"Every time we bring young boys in, they stand up,” he said. “They have done it, they have done it under pressure. They did it at the Champions Trophy for us. When Fakhar Zaman walked in, he changed the tempo in the Champions Trophy, playing fearless cricket. Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, these are the guys who'd do anything for you. When we play in our own conditions, we dominate because our guys are comfortable and they play very well there. This is like playing on the North Pole for them. It's so different but we got to be better at that.”

’Blue print remains same’

Pakistan’s approach changed from defensive to offensive in the past year which led them to victories and silverware and the South African insists, even after failing against New Zealand, the blue print of their plan won’t change.

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"Our blue print that we had was good enough to win us the Champions Trophy, it was good enough to win nine ODIs in a row, but we haven't played well enough here, and that's a fact,” he explained. “Our guys have come out of playing a lot of T20 leagues. I am not making excuses; that's just the way it is. We haven't adapted well and haven't played well enough. But the blue print for us still remains the same, but obviously personnel changes could happen.”

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