World Cup 2019: Arthur wants Pakistan to summon 'cornered tigers' spirit

An 89-run defeat by arch rival India in Manchester on Sunday has left Pakistan's hopes of qualifying for the semifinals hanging by a thread, with only minnows Afghanistan below them in the 10-team table.

Pakistan now finds itself in exactly the same position as when it won the 1992 World Cup — a tournament which, like this one, featured a round-robin group phase.   -  getty images

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has vowed to remind his players of the “cornered tigers” spirit which Imran Khan instilled in his team-mates to win the 1992 World Cup.

An 89-run defeat by arch rival India in Manchester on Sunday has left Pakistan's hopes of qualifying for the semifinals hanging by a thread, with only minnow Afghanistan below them in the 10-team table.

Yet Pakistan now finds itself in exactly the same position as when it won the 1992 World Cup — a tournament which, like this one, featured a round-robin group phase.

It now has three points from five matches with only one win — a surprise success against host England — three defeats and a no-result.

As happened in 1992, Pakistan started this World Cup with a defeat by the West Indies.

But 27 years ago it had a famous rained-off match against England in Adelaide and that single point gained from the washout helped Pakistan sneak into the semifinal.

Then it beat minnow Zimbabwe and lost to South Africa and India before defeating Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in their last three group matches.

Pakistan also had to rely on Australia beating the West Indies to claim the last semifinal spot, where it downed co-host New Zealand before upstaging England in a Melbourne final.

Imran Khan, now the prime minister of Pakistan, had famously worn a T-shirt with “cornered tigers” written on it and said at the toss he wanted his players to play like tigers.   -  getty images

 

Khan, now the prime minister of Pakistan, had famously worn a T-shirt with “cornered tigers” written on it and said at the toss he wanted his players to play like tigers.

Arthur lamented Pakistan's start to this World Cup by telling: “It is disappointing to be in such a position.

“We can't change the past but can influence the future and I will definitely remind my players of the spirit of 'cornered tigers',” the experienced South African coach added.

But Pakistan's task will be tougher than in 1992 as it has to not only win its last four matches but also improve its inferior net run-rate of minus 1.93.

It will also have to hope other results go its way.

Pakistan next plays South Africa at Lord's on Sunday before facing New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Arthur, whose contract will be reviewed after the World Cup, said he will do his best to lift the team.

“I will be doing everything I can and using all my experience to make this happen,” he said.

Arthur, who guided Pakistan to the 2017 Champions Trophy title, said: “I love this team. I love Pakistan so I will definitely use all my experience to inspire this team.”

Sunday's reverse meant Pakistan has lost all seven of its World Cup matches against India.

But it also lost a group match to its fellow subcontinental cricket giant in 1992.

“We are extremely disappointed with the defeat but we have to put it behind us and stand together and come back strong,” Arthur said.