Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has defended selectors’ decision to rest key players for the recently concluded Australia series which Pakistan lost 5-0.
Arthur accepted Pakistan's morale had been dented by the series defeat, but claimed it was important to give rest to the first-choice players ahead of the World Cup in England this summer.
Pakistan rested six players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for the Australia series to provide an opportunity to other leading performers to stake a claim. Other five players rested included Hasan Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan.
“In terms of morale, yes, we are all incredibly disappointed, because we are an incredibly proud cricket nation, and we represent 210 million people,” said Arthur while addressing a press conference.
“But I think there is a bigger picture. The bigger picture is we have a World Cup to win. We have to be playing in that World Cup final on July 14.
“What was the best way to get there? Our best way to get there was to have our major players, who are going to have a significant impact in that World Cup, rested, so that we have them fitter, faster, stronger come the start of the World Cup.”
When asked about power hitting, which has been a massive concern for Pakistan in the Australia series, Arthur accepted his unit has to work extremely hard to rectify it.
“That is one of our areas of concern, it is to make sure that we try and make out guys bat at those positions as best as they can, that as a reason we used Faheem Ashraf in two games. The reason we took Faheem there is to give him a little bit of batting experience.
“We have worked really hard with Imad Wasim in that role, Hasan [Ali] can hit the ball at long distances, Shadab Khan has worked very hard on that aspect of his game. We work consistently on the power hitting of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
“But it is an area that is a worry, and I have to work incredibly hard with it or look to rectify that,” he said.