Saqlain Mushtaq slams Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur for Asia Cup exit

Saqlain Mushtaq slams Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur for Asia Cup exit

Pakistan lost by 37 runs against Bangladesh in a virtual semi-final.

Mickey Arthur
Pakistan cocch Micky Arthur. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Pakistan’s 2018 Asia Cup campaign came to a disappointing but inevitable end after they suffered a 37-run defeat against Bangladesh on Wednesday. Sarfraz Ahmed’s side was deemed favourites before the start of the tournament – they were playing in the UAE which is their adopted home, and also came in with what looked like the strongest bowling line-up on paper. However, the team was out of sorts all through the tournament, especially after losing twice to India.

Against Bangladesh in a virtual semi-final though, the bowlers did a fine job for the Pakistanis, with left-arm pacer Junaid Khan returning to the side and making a telling impact with figures of 4 for 19. The hosts weren’t set a very daunting target, but even 239 proved to be a few too many for Pakistan to chase down.

Save Imam ul-Haq, who scored a gutsy 83, their batsmen failed to apply themselves at the crease. Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik got off to a start but fell for 30 leaving his side in all sorts of trouble at 85 for 4. Pacer Mustafizur Rahman was clinical at the death, and Pakistan ended well short of the target, thus crashing out of the Asia Cup.

Too many changes by Mickey Arthur: Saqlain Mushtaq

Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq lashed out at head coach Mickey Arthur mainly for the constant changes he made to the side. “In this tournament, Mickey Arthur never had a clear vision of what is the best combination or what is the best eleven for Pakistan. We will keep doing too many experiments. The batting line-up had no quality,” Mushtaq was quoted as saying to ESPNcricinfo.

“In the Champions Trophy, there was Mohammad Hafeez. Azhar Ali was also there, but we put a label on him which said that Azhar can’t play one-day cricket. I believe that if Azhar is best in Test cricket, I think he will be able to do well in ODIs. He is still the best player in the top order whom you can rely on. There is no strategy whatsoever,” he added.

Mushtaq also felt that Pakistan should have taken some of the better sides in international cricket prior to the Asia Cup. “We never played against a top team after the Champions Trophy. We played against Zimbabwe, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. If you play with lower-ranked teams, you will not improve and you won’t know where you are going,” he said.

Bangladesh will once again face off against India in an Asia Cup final, which takes place in Dubai on Friday, September 28.

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