BANGALORE: As Pakistan prepares for a crucial ICC Cricket World Cup clash against New Zealand, team manager Mickey Arthur has expressed his focus on both winning the game and improving the net run rate.
Speaking during the press conference, which shed light on Pakistan’s strategy for the must-win match, Arthur also indicated a change in Pakistan’s game plan.
The team manager acknowledged the importance of not only winning but also surpassing New Zealand’s net run rate.
“Of course it is. It’s based and during the Kolkata chase, I had every scenario in my pocket whether we won in 25 overs, whether we won in 26 overs, 27 overs. So we kind of knew how we were going to eat into the net rate of New Zealand,” he explained, highlighting the team’s strategic planning.
However, Arthur stressed the need to respect New Zealand’s strength before diving into net interest calculations.
“The first thing for us though is we have to respect our position. New Zealand are a very, very good team. I think they’re very well coached. I think they’re very well led. I think they’re a very experienced team cricket,” he said, acknowledging New Zealand’s quality.
On Pakistan’s performance in the tournament, Arthur said: “I don’t think we’ve played to our full potential,” while praising the all-round performance against Bangladesh as an example of their potential.
He expressed hope that the team had found its best game at the right time.
The constant travel and tight security was addressed by Arthur, who recognized the players’ resilience and adaptability to the unique conditions. He said the restrictions were stifling and tried to organize group events to give a glimpse of the outside world.
“What was difficult is the fact that we were under huge security. So I kind of took it back. And to be fair, I found it difficult. It’s almost like we’ve gone back to the times of COVID when you were pretty much isolated on the floor and in her room your team. So much so that their breakfast is in a separate room from everyone else. So that was the difficult aspect,” he said.
When asked if being too restricted in the squad was affecting the players, Arthur said: “It definitely is. And I’ve seen it with some players where it’s been, you wake up again and it’s like Groundhog Day. It’s the same. You’re having breakfast even if it’s not practice day, you go back to your room. We tried to do some fun little team events and stuff inside our team room. But you know, there’s so much you can recreate I think the kids have gone out three times — we made it safely, take them to a different restaurant or whatever, just to give them a little taste of the outside world.”
Arthur revealed that extensive research had been carried out on the site and a game plan had been devised to suit the conditions. He said that a possible change in the composition of the team is under consideration.
When asked about possible changes to the squad, Arthur praised Haris Rauf’s specific role as a striker and hinted that he will likely keep his place. However, he suggested that there might be a change in the game plan, just as they had brought in Fakhar Zaman, who has performed brilliantly after recovering from injury.
“We wouldn’t want to change Haris Rauf because he has a specific role for us in the team. But there is a possibility of changing the game plan,” he concluded.
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