Q. Mickey, a few minutes ago, Virat Kohli insisted it's just a game for his team. He was asked ten different questions, and he didn't budge. Do you feel the mood is the same in the Pakistan camp as well? Are your players taking this just as a match, or are they under pressure to perform because they have to win tomorrow to stay alive?
MICKEY ARTHUR: There's always pressure in any game, and these games carry exactly the same amount of points. They carry two points. Obviously, there's a massive hype that's created a lot of time by the media really. Our guys are prepared. We're ready. We're comfortable that we can get out there and perform, and we are so excited about the opportunity tomorrow.
Q. Coach, a lot of people are thinking that perhaps India is the favourite this time as well. So are you talking to your players about what happened a couple of years ago, Champions Trophy Final, in a game where India was probably the favourite, and the result was what you liked?
MICKEY ARTHUR: No, that's a long time ago. We're concentrating at the moment on our own games because we know, if we put three disciplines together, we can beat anybody in the world. We're comfortable with our game plans. We're comfortable with our personnel. We're comfortable with our players. We've just got to get them into the optimum space to go out there and perform tomorrow.
We haven't put the perfect game together yet. Our disciplines have been good with the bat, have been okay with the ball and okay in the field. If we put the perfect game together, we can beat everybody, and we're confident of that, and the dressing room is very, very confident of that fact.
Q. Do you think in England the game wasn't perfect?
MICKEY ARTHUR: No. We still gave away probably ten too many in the field. I thought we batted very well. We're still just a little bit short on the bowling and probably gave ten away in the field. If we put it all together, we're a very, very good cricket team.
Q. Mickey, any changes in the combination expected, knowing the weather conditions?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Well, we had a little look at the pitch yesterday. It actually looked pretty brown and flat. So we'll take that into consideration. We haven't made any decisions as yet, but by the end of training today, we'll be pretty clear in our mind which way we'll go.
Q. Hi, Mickey. Do you think that in a tournament like a World Cup, where finishing is very important, like Pakistan has in the last few matches, things haven't gone your way as far as finishing is concerned. Are you trying to address that issue? How are you going about it?
MICKEY ARTHUR: We know we've been very close. We've been very close in most games. We just haven't grabbed the moments when they've presented themselves, and that's something we've spoken about as a group and we've spoken about as a team because in every game we've played -- and I go back to the one-day series as well. There were moments in the game that presented themselves for them to win, and we just didn't take the moments when they presented themselves. That's something we're working on.
I definitely do think that through a World Cup, when you're playing nine games, you're not going to win every game, but it's getting that momentum towards the back end of the tournament that's really, really important, and it's round about that time for us. Hopefully tomorrow, we can string that perfect game together, as I say.
Q. Before you took over as the coach, Pakistan was an unpredictable team. If they do well, then they do well. After you've taken over as coach, it's still the same. So what is it about that team that you have -- it's sort of for you to crack it, and what have you observed so far?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Well, I like to think we've become a lot more structured as a team. I think there's been a lot more role clarity given to players, and hopefully that bridges the gap between being consistent and being inconsistent. I certainly think our gap between being very, very good and very bad is a lot closer, and I do think that we're playing a game now that is a little bit more consistent. I really do believe that.
But that unpredictability tag always sort of hangs around the Pakistan team, and that makes us very exciting. It makes us very exciting as well. I don't particularly like, you know, when the commentators talk about, oh, it depends which Pakistan team is racked up today, because, as coach, we prepare those guys exceptionally well every time to make sure that, when they go on the field, they're ready to deliver and ready to fire.
But we are exciting, and I know there's a massive amount of excitement in that dressing room tomorrow as to the opportunity that tomorrow presents.
Q. It was pointed out that fielding wasn't up to the mark in the last matches. Has this rain affected the preparation? Especially from the fielding point of view.
MICKEY ARTHUR: Look, we can't do more. We've honestly, we've worked the boys incredibly hard. Fielding is an attitude. Batting and bowling is something that you can't really control because you're up against somebody else. Fielding, you can control. You can control your attitude in the field.
When we get a little bit tentative, we tend to fall off the ball a little bit, and the message for the boys tomorrow is not to hold back. We want to leave everything out on the ground, whether that's with bat, ball, or in the field. And if we do that, if we do that and not play a tentative game, we play a game where we take the game on, which has been our mantra for a period of time now, hopefully, it clicks and everything goes well.
It only takes one moment of magic. It only takes one moment of brilliance, and it needs one guy to stand up and do that, particularly early in the game for us.
Q. Just an extension of his question, you said, you know you're trying to prepare for your team to deliver in all three aspects, and there's the unpredictability tag and everything. We've seen your images, which is sometimes very frustrated. How tough or easy is it -- you said you're preparing them well -- but to get all three aspects working together on the same day when you have an exciting -- I'm not going to say unpredictable -- but an exciting team like that?
MICKEY ARTHUR: I like that. Good word. It's a very interesting question because we just prepare as best we can, and when our players go out on the field, you almost get that feel as to how it's going to be. It's that first ball, whether we bat, ball, field. Does that first ball hit the mark? Does Mohammad Amir run in and that first ball is back of the length going through to the keeper? If the ball is blocked, Shadab Kahn is our best fielder, does he come into the game early?
All those type of things you get a feel for, and I guess we watch it unfold from the dressing room. We almost know what's going to happen. What I do know, though, is that that happens with a youngish team. We're the youngest team. We've got two 38-year-olds on our squad, and we're still the youngest team by a couple of years in this competition, and I just think that goes and bears so well for Pakistan cricket going forward because there's some outstanding young players in that dressing room who just need to be encouraged and will progress into some very, very fine international cricketers.
Q. Mickey, the conditions are the same like Taunton here, rainy condition and it's moisture in there. What's your plan? Did you select the team for tomorrow? Are you going with three plus one, three fast bowlers and one spinner, or all four fast bowlers?
MICKEY ARTHUR: We looked at the wicket yesterday, and the wicket was -- like Taunton, Taunton was green and moist. You would be silly not to have played four quick bowlers in Taunton. Australia did exactly the same as us. That was a no brainer.
I'm not so sure that, looking at the wicket yesterday, that it's going to be the same. I'm not 100 percent sure there's a massive amount of moisture in there, and the wicket is certainly a lot browner than Taunton was. So those things will come into the equation in terms of our thinking.
We had a chat yesterday, myself, Seffi and Enzi, and we're due to have another chat now. Conditions will probably -- might need to wake up in the morning just to be able to make a final decision on that.
Q. Mickey, they could have sold Old Trafford out 20 times over for this game. 500,000 people wanted to be here to watch the match tomorrow. What is the atmosphere going to be like, and can you enjoy it?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Of course you do. It's the -- well, I don't want to say it's the biggest rivalry in sport, but I saw some stats, you know, which said I think the soccer World Cup final attracted 1.6 billion viewers. Tomorrow likely to get 1.5 billion. It doesn't get bigger than that. It doesn't get more exciting. I'm telling our players in the dressing room, you could be a hero tomorrow. Your careers are going to be defined by a moment in the game. You do something incredible tomorrow, you'll be remembered forever.
Our kind of mantra is how do you want to be remembered? We've got 15 incredible cricketers in that dressing room, and we keep stressing to them, how do you want to be remembered? You're the class of 2019. What are they going to say about you in history? And tomorrow presents an unbelievable opportunity for these guys to really make a mark.
Q. Coach, Mohammad Amir did well to really come back with the old ball against the Aussies, how much of a concern is it with the new ball and to be able to make inroads into the Indian top order, that would be key?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, that is key. Without wanting to harp too much, that was two years ago, but when you get into the Indian top order, you can create a little bit of havoc. There's some fun players all the way down, don't get me wrong, but if you can rattle their top order with the new ball, you certainly have an advantage. That's something that we'll certainly, certainly be trying to work on.
Q. Mickey, there's been a fair bit of talk about Shoaib Malik in this World Cup, and he's had a poor Cup probably by his standards. How concerned are you about having him inside and just his performance so far?
MICKEY ARTHUR: I can tell you a guy that's played over 200 ODIs, tomorrow presents a real opportunity for him. As far as I'm concerned, Shoaib Malik didn't play the West Indies team because of balance of team. He batted in the last three overs against England and failed against Australia.
So to say he's failed, there's not much of a barometer just yet. That will be determined over the next couple of games. What I do know is Shoaib Malik brings a hell of a lot to our dressing room. He is an incredible team man. He has incredible skills, and I'm hoping that, on the biggest stage tomorrow, those skills come to the fore.
Let's not forget - I mentioned it in one of the previous questions - that is still a fairly young cricket team. Shoaib Malik's experience, Mohammad Hafeez's experience tomorrow will go a long way out in the middle to help these young boys through it.
Q. Coach, how difficult is it to plan, as a coach, keeping in mind the weather looming larger over you and anything can happen?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Look, it always is, but you've just got to take the weather out of the equation. We plan meticulously every time. We've just come out of the hotel. We've had our bowlers' meetings. We've had our batters' meetings. The boys have planned meticulously. We've done everything that we can possibly do. We've done everything that we can control. We can't control the weather. Unfortunately, the weather, we've just got to go by what happens tomorrow.
Everything we can control has been done.