The phantasmagorical fourth innings collapse that led to a heartbreaking four-run loss in Abu Dhabi left the dressing room devastated, according to Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur, reports ESPN.
“Our choice of shots under pressure and the decisions we made were disappointing,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “The game was wrapped up and suddenly we had the Babar Azam run out and we couldn’t get over the line. It was incredibly disappointing. But everyone’s hurting so much. On Wednesday [today] we get together again, we clear the air and we move to Dubai to play the second Test.
“If we got 300 in the first innings, that would be the game done and dusted. That’s where we slipped up, because the bowler’s did a very good job. We rolled them over for 153 and 249, and that gave our batsmen a target to get. We missed our opportunity twice with the batting, and that’s something we’ll dissect and digest and remedy over the next couple of days.”
“This is the second time it’s happened in a year, that we’ve lost in a fourth innings chase,” he said. “This is something we need to overcome as a team. Hopefully the next time we’re in a position to do it, we’ll win it comfortably. I continually discuss with the PCB [the possibility of getting a sports psychologist involved]. We have had discussions around it.”
“We needed to sit down and have a good discussion about what happened and for that to happen you need guys with clear minds.
It wouldn’t have had any impact last night. So, apart from a couple of individual conversations in the dressing room, I left it today. Tomorrow we’ve got a team meeting before we travel to Dubai.
Once we move out of the Abu Dhabi hotel, we will have drawn a line under the sand underneath it and we will be very clear about what we need to do to go on and win the second Test match.”
“Asad is a fantastic batsman but he needs to kick on, and nobody appreciates that more than him. He got 40s in both innings, but they aren’t much good if you don’t go and get us a big score. And he hasn’t done that. He knows that, he feels that. In terms of him technicality, he’s playing beautifully at the moment. It’s just the fact that, as I said, he got out in the 40s in both innings. We need him to step up and score big runs for us. And we’ve made him aware of that.”
“It’s just conjecture [whether a more positive approach would have changed the outcome for Azhar]. The problem we had was with the filed spread, we battled to run twos. We didn’t get the odd boundary, which was very difficult with the field back, and Azhar had to win it with ones. He was caught there between a rock and a hard place. I feel he played it sensibly, but in hindsight we could have a look at it.”
“The one thing I know about Pakistan cricket is we have the ability to move on very quickly. I’m comfortable we have the ability to move on, I’m comfortable we have the talent and I believe in these boys, I believe in this team and the players and I’m pretty sure we can bounce back nice and quickly.”