Pakistan's cricket team is going through a "confidence crisis" right now, coach Mickey Arthur conceded after the nine-wicket loss to India in the ongoing Asia Cup, calling it one of the side's "worst performances".
"We are not abandoning them. Yes, they are suffering a bit of confidence crisis at the moment. There is fear of failure in the dressing room. There is a bit reality check of where we are as a cricket team" Arthur told reporters after Pakistan were beaten by India for the second successive time in the tournament.
"In terms of worst performance, nine wickets has to be up there. India have very good players. If we give them an inch, they are going to make us pay and they did that," he said.
Pakistan set India a target of 238 after another below-par batting show. India romped home in 39.3 overs with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan striking hundreds.
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"Our strike rates were not good enough with the bat. With the ball, we need to strike early against these guys. We had a couple of chances, we didn't take them. When you get these guys chances on wickets like these, they dominate you," Arthur said dissecting the loss. "We need to get into their middle order as quick as we can that's when we can inflict most damage" he added.
Arthur was effusive in his praise for the Indian team, which is the only unbeaten team in the ongoing tournament. "We have to be realistic. We were well beaten by a very good Indian side. They didn't allow us to play. We are a team that is developing. Sarfraz (Ahmed) and (Mohammed) Amir have 50 or more caps, Shoaib Malik with 200," he said.
The South African said he was amazed by the work ethic of Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah when he observed him during a net session. " One thing that really impressed me, we were at an optional training session the other day and I sat there for 20 minutes. I saw Jasprit Bumrah in a net next to us execute yorker after yorker after yorker," he said. "He put that into practice. In our review, we will definitely show it to our young bowlers that his execution and even Bhuvneshwar's in death overs was very good," he added.
Arthur said Pakistan have a huge task at hand in the clash against Bangladesh on Wednesday.
"It's a semi-final now. We have to find a way to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in at the moment. We will come back from this. We are at our best in must-win matches. That's when we come to the party," he said. "I believe in our players. I think they are a fantastic bunch of players," he added.