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Arthur now ponders his future after bemoaning World Cup format

Arthur now ponders his future after bemoaning World Cup format
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Arthur's three-year stint in charge of Pakistan ended with his side narrowly failing to make the semi-finals.

Mickey Arthur believes Pakistan should be preparing for a World Cup semi-final.

New Zealand pipped Pakistan to a last-four spot on run rate, despite Pakistan head coach Arthur's side beating the Black Caps.

Arthur believes teams level on points at the end of the round-robin stage should initially be separated by head-to-head results.

On that basis Pakistan would have reached the last four, leaving Arthur deflated by the system but proud of his players.

Pakistan Nets Session – Trent Bridge
Arthur, centre, feels the qualifying format for the World Cup semi-finals should be changed.  (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pakistan's 94-run victory over Bangladesh at Lord's proved in vain, with Arthur's team now heading home, and the coach unsure of his future at the helm.

"I would have liked the ICC to consider head to head because tonight we would be in the semi-final," said Arthur.

"It is disappointing, and it just goes back to the first game against the West Indies.

"And we had an opportunity to beat Australia, and we didn't take that. Those are the two nightmares I'm going to have.

"What the system has done to us is that one very poor game and you really battle to recover again.

West Indies v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Trent Bridge
Pakistan opened the World Cup with a humbling defeat to the West Indies. (Tim Goode/PA)

"So it's a very disappointed dressing room, no congratulations going on because we haven't qualified."

Arthur's contract will now expire, with the former South Africa and Australia coach suggesting he would like to continue in the role.

"There's going to be a review now and we'll see how that goes," said Arthur.

"So if I were to leave, my message again is 'Let's stay positive'. We've got some very young cricketers who are going to be champion players, so let's back them."

Addressing his time in charge, he added: "This has been very, very fulfilling for me. I've enjoyed every moment of the last three years.

"I'm very passionate about these boys and Pakistan cricket.

"Congratulations to the four qualifiers, I think they've played the best cricket so far and may the best team win.

"But it is nice for us to sit here and know we've beaten two of those teams which show we're not a mile off in terms of ourselves as a cricket team."

Imam Ul Haq struck a century and Babar Azam 96 as Pakistan reached 315 for nine from their 50 overs.

Only a 316-run victory would have let Pakistan leapfrog New Zealand, so Arthur's men skittling Bangladesh for 221 ultimately proved immaterial.

After the game Shoaib Malik announced his retirement from 50-over cricket in a bizarre press conference situation, forcing boss Arthur to wait his turn.

That came after Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza had neatly sidestepped questions about his own future, amid expectations he will either retire or at least relinquish the captaincy.

Asked what his future now holds, the 35-year-old Mashrafe said: "My future plan is obviously going home from here, and then I'll rethink."

Bangladesh Nets Session – Cardiff Wales Stadium
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza refused to confirm his future plans. (Mark Kerton/PA)

While the World Cup's new round-robin format has received mixed reviews, Mashrafe insisted he has relished the chance of Bangladesh facing each team under tournament pressure.

"That format I loved, because every team has been exposed to everyone else," said Mashrafe. "And to be honest I think some people will not be very happy with that.

"But if you're asking about the tournament, it's been very exciting playing each other. Going forward, it's really very exciting for us.

"Good luck to the teams going to the semis, and hopefully the three best matches are coming up."

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Pakistan's Babar Azam and Sarfaraz Ahmed celebrate after winning the match against New Zealand on June 26, 2019
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