Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has blamed his team’s batsmen for the heavy loss against India in an Asia Cup match, saying they could not handle the pressure and played well “outside” of their roles.
Pakistan made a disastrous start, losing two wickets for three runs before getting all out for 162. India chased down the modest target in 29 overs for a thumping win on Wednesday.
“We sort of batted outside our roles, which was very disappointing. Imam-ul-Haq, it’s not his role to be running down to Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the third over. It’s not Sarfraz’s (Ahmed) role to be hitting over the top and getting caught out there. We’ve got X-factor guys whose role it is to do that,” said Arthur.
“If Fakhar (Zaman) gets out playing that way, it’s OK. If Asif (Ali) gets out like that, it’s OK, because that’s his role. But the other four batsmen certainly need to take responsibility.”
The South African felt the occasion got the better of the batsmen.
“(It was) the pressure that told on Imam. As I said, out of his role, he had two off eight balls or whatever, but Fakhar had just faced a maiden. He tried to have a go, he tried to hit the ball that’s not in his area. I do think there was a little bit of pressure,” he said.
The bowlers had too little to defend but Arthur said they could have done better.
“On a wicket like that, you need to strike really early if you’re going to defend it. We didn’t strike early enough. But, saying that, we went away from our plans too quickly. We said that our batters batted outside our roles and that wasn’t acceptable.
“With our bowling, we went outside our plans far too quickly. We wanted to bowl hard lengths, hit the top of off stump. It was tough to score then. There was a bit of panic when they didn’t strike early. We panicked and went away from our plans,” he said.
Arthur said the better team won and felt India were probably fired up more after a scare against Hong Kong on Tuesday.
“India played better than us today. They put us under pressure for longer periods of time. They were probably quite good for the hit-out last night and they got a little bit of a scare.
“They certainly came out, and their discipline was so much better. We saw what a difference (Jasprit) Bumrah makes to the attack. I thought their spinners bowled well, and their lengths were much better than last night. I think they were better for their hit-out.”
India play Pakistan for the second time in the tournament on Sunday.