Series saw Pakistan drop routine catches and give away runs with sloppy out-fielding
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur insisted his side would benefit from a 4-nil one-day international (ODI) series defeat by World Cup hosts England when the showpiece tournament starts later this month.
England, the world's top-ranked ODI side, triumphed by 54 runs in Sunday's finale at Headingley as, not for the first time this series, Pakistan's bowling and especially their fielding let them down.
Yet the match was the first time in a completed innings this campaign where Pakistan, bowled out for 297, had failed to post a total of 340 or more.
Sunday's game saw right-handed batsman Babar Azam follow up his 115 at Trent Bridge on Friday with 80, while captain Sarfraz Ahmed made 97 before being run out in unusual fashion by wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.
Arthur insisted he was in a much better mood now than he had been after Pakistan suffered a humiliating 124-run opening defeat on the Duckworth/Lewis method by India in Birmingham at the 2017 Champions Trophy, an ODI tournament they bounced back to win by defeating their arch-rivals in the final.
“We were beaten hands down at Edgbaston that day and I didn't really know where to turn because there wasn't a hell of a lot of positives out of that day,” said Arthur. “We sit here having taken a huge amount of positives out of this series. I thought our batting has gone to another level.”
Arthur was adamant the series against World Cup favourites England would help Pakistan.
“The other thing is we've played against a team who are number-one in the world in their own conditions. I know there are not too many teams who will arrive in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we've played against and match-fitness,” explained Arthur. “All I know is the players are very determined to do well. Every time they go out there they play for 210 million people.”
Meanwhile, Arthur said left-arm quick Mohammad Amir, recently side-lined with chicken pox, could yet make it into Pakistan's final 15-man squad for the World Cup.
“Mohammad Amir trained yesterday (Saturday). He had 25 minutes on a bike and a gym session. He had another one today so if selected he'd be ready to go,” he said. “In terms of selection, Inzi (Pakistan selection chief Inzamamul Haq) and I will talk tomorrow (Monday) to finalise our squad.”
Pakistan's fielding looked to be improving when they were in England last year. This latest series, however, saw Pakistan drop routine catches and give away runs with sloppy out-fielding.
“It's been very disappointing,” said Arthur. “That's a real worry for me because we are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it and there's not a massive amount of reward there at the moment. They (the players) know they've been short in this department and they are not happy about it. They are working damn hard at it.”