Sports

League cricket is affecting Pakistan’s ODI performances: Arthur

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has admitted that a plethora of run-and-gun cricket leagues is starting to affect his team’s performance in the ODIs, indicating that a change in policy might be on the cards in order to ensure players are in top form for next year’s 50-over World Cup.
Arthur, who spoke to ESPNcricinfo after Pakistan suffered a 5-0 drubbing against New Zealand in an ODI series this month but won the subsequent T20I series 2-1, recalled that some of his charges had returned in worse physical and technical shape from their five-week break from international cricket as they were busy playing leagues.
“I saw that players returned in a far worse state physically and technically when they were away from us for five weeks,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
“Of course I want our players to make extra money, so I will be reasonable with our management plan. But some players came back far worse from T20 competitions in all departments. It’s just so important to manage the players individually because each case is different.”
Arthur’s unhappiness with the team’s ODI performance could signal a change in policy regarding the management of players and their participation in T20 and T10 tournaments, where fitness and technique take a back seat for glamour and entertainment.
“My concern is the players need to be working hard off the field in terms of fitness during all these competitions, not coming back in worse shape. I want them to make money but not at the expense of their performance for Pakistan.”
After Pakistan’s series against Sri Lanka ended on October 29, Pakistan did not have any international commitments until the New Zealand tour.
During that break, a number of players participated in a T10 tournament in the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh Premier League, the Big Bash League as well as a domestic T20 tournament.
“I want a conditioning window and technical window outside of series time to improve our players in all departments,” Arthur said.
“It’s hard to do it in the middle of a series. The example I used was Hasan played all competitions after Champions Trophy while Boult had a three-month conditioning process. We see the difference in terms of freshness and performance. I want us to manage our players according to what we think their needs are. The players we think are going to play in the World Cup have to be in optimum condition for it. Even if it means resting players for games and series.”
Ali managed only six wickets in the series for 217 runs while Boult, in comparison, grabbed nine for 179, including a five-wicket haul.