Ultimate goal to prepare team for World Cup 2019: Mickey Arthur

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LAHORE, Aug 3 (APP): Pakistan cricket team head coach Mickey Arthur said
on Thursday that the ultimate goal is to prepare the team for World Cup 2019 and making the team number one by finding suitable replacements of iconic cricketers Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
“Certainly we have a successful year and certainly we are going into the
right direction. We are not just focusing on the very next series, but our main and ultimate goal is to make our players and team ready for the World Cup 2019, which is a quite a tough challenge,” he told nedia here at the National cricket academy.
“There are other challenges as well, we have to find replacements of
Misbah and Younis and there are some young players, who we believe can fill the void,” said the team head coach. “We have to make Pakistan number one team, definitely it will take time, but we are hopeful that with hard work, devotion and dedication, we will achieve this goal.
“Right now, our Test team is pretty good while One-day team has improved
a lot. Although we had lost in England yet now after the Champions Trophy victory, which was fantastic, we are getting better and better and I am really excited for future of Pakistan team,” he added.
About the replacements of former captains Misbah and Younis, Arthur said: “In top order, we have Babar Azam, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq who must
step up and take responsibility, while we have other youngsters who can the ideal combination.
We have enough players in shape of seniors and youngsters, who can fill
the void. We have developing some better young players, who will be provided with the more and more opportunities so that they may become future stars of Pakistan cricket.”
To a query regarding declining batting department, Mickey said: “We want
to leave a great legacy behind in terms of structure and in terms of standards that we leave for Pakistan cricket. Our batting has started to really step up. It’s not the area we need to keep improving but we need to start getting some younger guys to the system, definitely, in terms of our batting, we are getting better and better with every series. The other thing is that I think our bowling unit is very good now and we have got depth and strength in both seam and spin bowling so that’s a great
legacy.”
About the future of Wahab Riaz, he said: “Competition in bowling
department is pretty good and impressive. Young players are knocking at the door with their outstanding performance, so the senior players have to perform extraordinarily, as it is the only way that can keep them in safe zone. Wahab is a good player, but we have great youngsters in the team as well, who are also very impressive, so competition is very tough and Wahab really need to work hard and get back his place in the team.”
To a query regarding Umar Akmal, who has been facing problems regarding
his conduct and fitness level, the head coach said: “We are not going to compromise on fitness at any cost and we have set some standards to meet
for every player and only those players, who will keep on meeting that set standards, will remain in the team.
The benefits of that will result in better running between the wickets,
better fielding and better performance. Umar Akmal got seven opportunities, so he should have cemented his place in the team.” For Ahmad Shahzad, the coach said that Ahmad Shahzad has no fitness problem, he needs to improve his batting and has to perform to get back into the team.
When asked how the batting combination would be arranged after Misbah and
Younus Khan, Mickey said: “For opening pair, we have Shan Masood, who opens the innings and Sami Aslam, who is also very good at this place and Salahuddin also opened well against the West Indies. For number three and onward positions, we have Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq. We have still good combination, and by utilizing it wisely, out batsmen can produce better results.”
The Champions Trophy victory celebrations were amazing and the entire
country and cricket lovers celebrated it in the best possible way. “The players were really given tremendous welcome and honour after the Champions Trophy victory and still they have been enjoying great respect and honour and for me, these three weeks were best of my coaching career.
Regarding his remaining years coaching stint with the team, he said
“Nothing is safe in coaching. We are not planning for just one series but for the World Cup 2019. So I have not talked to the PCB in this regard (extension in tenure), and when time will come, it will also
be discussed.”