AHMEDABAD: Even as he wasn’t willing to dish out that as an excuse, Pakistan team director Mickey Arthur minced no words in pointing out the fact that his team did miss the presence of its fans, as a 1,30,000 partisan crowd cheered India to a seven-wicket win for the hosts at the Narendra Modi Stadiumin their 2023 ODI World Cup league clash on Saturday night.Pakistan’s fans are yet to receive a visa to travel to India to watch the mega tournament.
“It didn’t seem like an ICC event, I would be pretty honest. It seemed like a bilateral series, like a BCCI event. I didn’t hear ‘Dil Dil Pakistan’ coming through the microphones too often. That does play a role, but I am not using that as an excuse because for us, it was about living in the moment, about the next ball and about how we would combat the Indian players tonight,” Arthur said post Pakistan’s heavy drubbing.
Quizzed on whether Pakistan’s fans should ideally have been here, Arthur offered a straight bat. “I don’t want to get fined just yet. I don’t want to get fined,” he quipped.
Pakistan’s head coach Grant Bradburn too echoed his disappointment at the non-arrival of Pakiant’s fans so far, saying that Saturday’s outing “didn’t feel like a World Cup game.”
“Naturally that was going to be the case. We are really sad that our supporters aren’t here, they would love to be here and I am sure Indian cricket fans would love our supporters here as well. It was certainly unusual in that way, no familiar music for us today. So it did not feel like a World Cup game, honestly. We didn’t expect anything else. We love the occasion and we are disappointed that we did not do justice to the occasion or justice to our many fans at home and globally,” Bradburn said.
However, for someone who has coached international teams throughout his career, the South African was full of praise for the Indian team, while hoping to meet them in the final, despite the hammering on Saturday night! “This Indian team looks good. I think they’re very well led by Rahul (Dravid) and Rohit (Sharma). They’ve got all bases covered. I’m looking forward to meeting them in the final again.”

India vs Pakistan: Rohit Sharma, bowlers star in India’s dominant 7-wicket win

Arthur felt that Pakistan were “timid” on the night. “I just think we were a little timid tonight with our approach. I would’ve liked us to take the game on a little bit more. It’s a massive occasion as we know. I think we just went into our shells a little bit. To go for 155 for two, to 191 all out is just not on. Yes, credit to India, they bowled really well but I thought our performance was just a little timid,” Arthur analyzed.
Asked if perhaps it would’ve helped if skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan could’ve taken on the Indian spinners a bit more to increase the scoring rate, Arthur said, “Look, they’re classy performers. They’ve done it day in and day out for Pakistan over an extended period of time. So, I’m not going to sit here and castigate them for that. As I said, I thought we were a little timid. We could’ve taken on the Indian spinners just a little bit more. It was a wicket that didn’t turn massively. I thought we needed to put some pressure back (on India). But again, they (India) were building (pressure) and building nicely. I think we’ve got to realise that there are two ways to skin a cat. We have had success by taking it deep, and then cashing in at the back end. That’s been our style. We didn’t play the Pakistan way tonight, and that was the disappointing aspect of it.”
He stressed that having won two games out of three so far in their campaign, Pakistan weren’t hitting the panic stations yet, in terms of dropping certain under-performing players. “Look, it’s too soon. I mean, we are 2 from 3 (in terms of wins). So, we’re certainly not panicking yet. We’ll go back and analyze this game to the nth degree. We’ll have conversations about how we want to go forward. Australia is our next game, we’ll have conversations about them. We’ll look at conditions, and we’ll make selection decisions based on our strategy and conditions for the next game,” he explained.

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