LONDON: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur hopes his side’s hard work on and off the field will be rewarded when they face England in the fourth Test at The Oval.
The tourists are currently 2-1 down in the four-match campaign following a 141-run defeat last time out at Edgbaston.
But while recent results may have been disappointing, this tour has not been dogged by the controversy that afflicted Pakistan’s last two trips to England.
In 2006, Pakistan became the first side to forfeit a Test when they refused to return to the field at The Oval after being penalised five runs for ball-tampering.
And in 2010, the Lord’s Test was overshadowed by a spot-fixing scandal that led to five-year bans and jail terms for three Pakistan players, including Mohammad Amir — now back in the squad.
By contrast this trip, where Pakistan won the first Test at Lord’s by 75 runs, has not yet witnessed any major flashpoints.
“It will be mission accomplished if we can get out of this Test match at 2-2, that will be a hugely successful tour,” said Arthur at The Oval on Tuesday.
“I certainly think off the field, we have made a lot of friends,” the South African added.
“I think the way the boys have conducted themselves through these last two months has been exemplary. They’ve been brilliant in behaviour, both on and off the field, and they’ve been a credit to Pakistan.”
Pakistan were far more competitive at Edgbaston than they had been during a 330-run reverse in the second Test at Old Trafford.
They had a lead of more than 100 runs on first innings and were well on their way to saving the game at 69 for one at lunch, before a dramatic collapse shortly before tea saw them lose four wickets for one run.
Arthur, asked if it would be hard to pick up his players ahead of Thursday’s start in south London said: “No, not at all.
“I spoke pretty frankly about the Old Trafford Test match. I thought we were very good (at Edgbaston). I do think we competed exceptionally well, certainly through three-and-a-half days at Edgbaston.”
The South African added: “I’m really happy with our all-round performance, particularly with the bat. We got some partnerships going which were fantastic. Second innings, England got through us.
“I certainly did not feel that we ever rolled over there. We were in the contest for most of that game.”
England took the third Test away from Pakistan thanks to a second-innings century stand between Jonny Bairstow (83) and Moeen Ali (86 not out).
“I said to the boys, we were probably one wicket away there from breaking through,” said Arthur.
“If we could have knocked Bairstow over or Moeen early, it certainly would have put a totally different perspective on the game,” he added.
“We hate losing, of course we do, but we lost with a lot of credibility at Edgbaston and that puts us in a really good space to come back particularly hard here,” the former Australia coach insisted.