Q. Batting's improved. Bowling's improved. How about the dropped catches? Why still so many dropped catches?
MICKEY ARTHUR: That's the million dollar question. We train and we train and we train, and we've put in massive amounts of work. That's something we'll be exploring again in the next couple of days because we can't be dropping that many catches and expect to beat teams getting into almost a knockout phase for us.
So that's something we're going to have to keep working at and keep chipping at.
Q. After winning today's match, where do you see this Pakistan team? And also, any specific reason you didn't select Shoaib Malik?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, I didn't hear the start part of your question.
Q. After winning today's match, where do you see this Pakistan team in the World Cup?
MICKEY ARTHUR: We are very firmly in the World Cup. We win our next three games, we'll qualify. So we know that.
Today, I thought we got our bowling and batting spot-on. Our problem is we haven't put three disciplines together yet in any game. So as the gentleman pointed out: We bowled well; we batted well; we didn't field well today. So when we put three disciplining together, we'll be exceptional. The closest we've got was when we beat England.
And in terms of Shoaib, we went with Shoaib for three games. We gave him a good extended run. We thought Shoaib with his experience, really thought he had a burn to come and end his ODI career in a very, very special way. It didn't pan out for him, but he certainly tried. He's put in tremendous amounts of work, and we banked on having some experience at six. But today we shuffled it around and I thought we got quite a nice balance.
Q. It was a year ago that you compared Babar Azam to Virat Kohli. In this tournament a lot of commentators have been praising his talent. But why is very often he is unable to convert the 50s into 100s?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Look, I think as I've always said, and Babar is an unbelievable player and Babar will just get better and better and better. I think his game over the last year has improved considerably.
He's going to be right up there as one of Pakistan's great batsmen, I think. But he's played well. Today he tried to force the pace just a little bit when it was probably needed and got out. There's going to be other days where he follows through and makes it happen.
Babs is the glue that sort of bonds our batting together. If Babar applies well, we invariably get to where we need to be. We feel if we get up to the 300s, we can defend that out eight of ten times.
Q. Today's win, do you think it's the start of Pakistan's revival at this World Cup? And secondly the way you have been dropping catches, do you think that you can beat a side like New Zealand with this kind of fielding?
MICKEY ARTHUR: I know we can beat New Zealand. It's amazing what a difference a week makes. Our boys hurt this week, all of us hurt, incredibly. Guys didn't sleep much, but they came to the training every day and put in, in order to try and turn it around, and today we got some just reward.
We are alive and kicking, without a doubt, and we play our best game, we beat anybody. Whether that's New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, our remaining games, or England, we showed. We put our three disciplines together, we are as good as any team in this competition.
Q. Just wanted to ask a little bit about what you made of Amir in this tournament. He's been a very different Amir to maybe what people remember and what people think about, but he's been smart.
MICKEY ARTHUR: He's been?
Q. He's been smart.
MICKEY ARTHUR: I think we've always said that, and whenever we've spoken, we've spoken about Amir being a very smart bowler. He backs his skills. His skills are excellent, and he works incredibly hard.
The key today is he's got a little bit of pace back. He's bowling with a confidence that he didn't have, and you guys are very quick to point out, he had five wickets, he had a strike rate of 121 since Champions Trophy, and that waned, his confidence waned and waned and waned.
He's got that spring back in his step. He's starting to swing the ball again. He's starting to bowl with a little bit of extra pace. I see the glint in his eye, and that's really good, and that's just confidence.
Our guys need to be built up all the time. The minute they are bashed, like they have been the last week, our guys don't respond to that in a very kind way, and hopefully we got a performance out today that vindicates the talent the boys have on the team.
Q. Good knock by Haris, but one thing was very visible, the stamina. He stepped in after 30th over and after spending 60, 70 minutes, he looked exhausted and in last overs, he couldn't make to the century; as well, we have three wickets in hands in last three overs we only made 20 runs, what is the problem?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Who is that? Haris? I thought you were saying something positive about Haris.
Q. But he looked exhausted after 70 or 80 minutes.
MICKEY ARTHUR: He got 80 from 59 balls today. Is that right, or did I miss something? I think (Laughter) why -- why are you always talking negatively about our players? That, today, was one of the all-time brilliant innings' that I've seen. Let's just write something positive for a change, please.
Q. It's a big moment today. We see in Pakistan that the party starts now.
MICKEY ARTHUR: Well, you weren't saying that last Sunday.
Q. It is a big moment, but tell me, it is necessary for Pakistan team to lose first the matches and then they will own the victory part?
MICKEY ARTHUR: No, we don't do that by any design, I promise you. We try and win every game we play.
We're trying to get that consistency better. You ask me that question every press conference. Yes, we are trying to get more and more consistent. We try that every day with our training and preparation.
What I do know is that guys do, when their are backs to the wall, we get some good performances out of them, and maybe, yeah, I just think the guys were burnt last week. The guys were incredibly hurt, by media, by public, by social media, and hopefully we got a proper reaction from them today that can just shut some people up for a little while.
Q. As a South African former Proteas coach, are you disappointed to see the state that the South African team is at the World Cup?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Well, let me say, I watch South Africa with a real fondness. South Africa are my second team without a doubt, and it is sad for me. It's sad, and I don't think it's a team just -- I listened to Faf's press conference, and it's a team that's just a little bit short on confidence. Every team goes through that.
I think now is a time to just try and get behind those boys. They are trying incredibly hard. I know what they are going through. I had a quick chat to Gibbo after the game. It's tough. It's really tough where they are. They will be going to training every day hurting like any other team hurts, and trying to get it right. But I do; I watch them with a lot of interest, and I do feel deeply disappointed for them at the moment.
Q. As Faf said, this doesn't happen overnight that your confidence just disappears; it gets chipped away. What do you think has led to that? What causes the confidence to chip away?
MICKEY ARTHUR: It happens so quick. You lose a game; you lose another game; it's a World Cup; media scrutiny; public expectation, and then you almost go into sort of survival mode. We've all been there. Last Sunday I wanted to commit suicide, but it was -- you know, it's only one performance. We always keep telling our players, it's one performance. Who is going to stimulate us today?
I thought for us, the way Fakhar and Imad went out and got us a start, that sort of quieted the nerves down a bit. That's all South Africa need. They need Kagi to run in and knock over three with the new ball early, or Quinny to go in and get a quick 50 just to get it going, and then they will feed off that, and that will turn around very, very quickly.
We always say, you're only performance: You're either a hero or a villain and it only takes one performance to get back to where you need to be. I'm confident that they can because there's a hell of a lot of talent in that dressing room.
Q. You just talk about Amir's performance. What about Wahab? He was nowhere, not in the original squad. Now he's performing superbly.
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, I'm really happy with Wahab's performances. They are outstanding. It's been well documented; we left Wahab out for reasons that were documented. The Wahab now is not the Wahab that was two years ago, and sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. We are seeing Wahab come back with a massive amount of determination, really fit, and ready to go, and he's producing for us.
I couldn't be more happier. I couldn't be more happier that he's turning in these performances.
Q. Can you just give an insight into what Haris was going through, because, you know, he was left out of the playing 11, and because he came out seemingly with a point to prove batting wonderfully today.
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, I'd like to think he did, as I'd like to think that every player who gets left out comes back with a point to prove. Yeah, we left him out after the West Indian game. Yeah, Harry played beautifully, and I think I've spoken about it before, I think he's certainly in our top three batsmen, and he had a particularly good lead-up. He got 200 against Australia, albeit in different conditions, but he played exceptionally well.
I think for Harry, there's other issues that need to be just continually worked at. But the Haris Sohail we got today was the Haris Sohail that played incredibly well and I couldn't be happier. The Haris that got left out has worked unbelievably hard at his game. He has worked unbelievably hard on his fielding and he has worked unbelievably hard on his fitness, and today he got some just reward for that, albeit that he couldn't run twos there at the end.
But I thought he was outstanding, and I like seeing players come back like that. You know, that is what we want to try and produce. We don't want comfort zones in any international cricket team. You can't have comfort zones. Guys must know every time they come out -- we talk a lot on our team about wing performances.
So it's not about the 50 or the 80 that personally looks a good performance, but we don't win games. We are looking for guys that give us match-winning performances. Haris's 80 today was as good a match-winning performance as you'll ever see.
Q. Toss was most important today, and it will be the main important the rest of the game. Toss.
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, I think it could be. If the weather stays as it's supposed to, I think you're going to see spin come more and more into the game. I think the wickets are going to be dry. I think we might see scores getting just a fraction higher.
And that's the beauty about playing a World Cup in England is the conditions differ so much. So yeah, I think you're right. I do think batting first is going to become an option.
The vogue early in the tournament on the fresh wickets with the little bit of rain around was bowl first, aided seamers. But now, I think squads are going to be tested more and more with their spinning ability and getting big runs and getting big runs on the board, and then putting pressure on the chase.
Q. The next week or ten days will be very crucial for Pakistan because you have just revived your campaign. So what will be the roadmap for the next few days? What are the strategies or plans that you think about?
MICKEY ARTHUR: We'll travel tomorrow, so we go -- I think we go to Birmingham tomorrow, and then we'll review the game on Tuesday. We'll top our players up. We've done all our work. That's why I have training camps and when the weather was good, we got a lot of work into our players, so now in tournament, we can just top them up.
So we will review. We'll have our normal one-on-one meetings and assess performances and look at areas we can improve on and then we'll just top them up on Tuesday so -- they say fitter, faster, stronger, ready for Wednesday.
Q. You say that if you win the next three games, you will qualify, but is that just optimism, or am I missing something, because if England win two and New Zealand one --
MICKEY ARTHUR: Well, we are banking on other teams doing us a favour, as well. It probably is -- but we've got to win three games. That means if we won five and we had the one rained out game, which was disappointing for us, because I felt we had just got some momentum and we were rained out. After beating England, we were rained out and we didn't play for nine days or eight days, which sort of just stopped momentum for a little bit for us and we've had to find it again.
But yeah, I'm hoping. All we can do is win our next three and see how it pans out.
Q. As a coach, what is the challenge of a team and coaching a team --
MICKEY ARTHUR: Pakistan team or any team?
Q. When they are playing like one day -- and next day just fall apart. How challenging as a coach is it to make equilibrium in this?
MICKEY ARTHUR: Yeah, it's really challenging but it's one of the -- as I've said numerous times, South Africa and Pakistan has been the nicest jobs I've ever had in my time for different reasons, for different challenges. We try and create structure. We are trying to make the good and the bad closer together, if you like. We are trying to be more consistent. But those are challenges you live with.
But what I can tell you about those boys is that they are incredible human beings, first and fore most. They try 100 per cent every time we go down to a training. They are incredibly passionate about the country they represent, and they are incredibly passionate about their cricket.
They are an absolute pleasure to work with, and that was why it hurt us so much this last week as a national cricket team because these boys are incredibly proud, every time they go out and represent Pakistan, they are incredibly proud about it.