BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) - Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur conceded his team were woeful in Sunday’s Champions Trophy defeat against India but said it was an “insult” to suggest that the squad had regressed under him.
In the end, one of the most eagerly awaited matches of the tournament proved a damp squib as India utterly dominated every aspect of a stop-start, rain-interrupted 124-run victory.
“That’s a total insult to say we’re playing even worse,” said the 49-year-old South African, who took on the role a little more than a year ago, after his team succumbed meekly at a packed Edgbaston ground.
“If you have a look at our records over the last year we’ve won two series. We’ve got ourselves from nine to number eight (in the ODI rankings) and our brand of cricket has changed.”
Pakistan won the toss but nothing else went right for them as they dropped catches, persisted with bowlers who bled runs and folded inside 34 overs with the bat.
”We had a poor game,“ the former South Africa and Australia coach added. ”But we’re obviously trying our best and we’re trying to change it.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re trying every day. Every time we go down to training, we try and get the basics right. We didn’t do it today. And that’s disappointing.”
Apart from the manner of their surrender, Pakistan are also fretting on the fitness of fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
Amir bowled 8.1 overs before developing severe cramp and leaving the field, while Riaz, who conceded 87 runs in 8.4 wicketless overs in the most expensive spell of five-plus overs in tournament history, hobbled off after twisting an ankle.
“I don’t know why they’re cramping,” Arthur said. “That’s something that I need to take up with the medical team.”
Pakistan play South Africa in their next Group B match at the same venue on Wednesday.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien