"Our bowling and fielding has been average at best" - Arthur Getty

Ahead of the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan have been hit by an unexpected hurdle. At the start of the ODI series versus England, their batting department was expected to be the weak link in the UK in the early summer. However, their batting unit put up considerable scores on flat pitches.

Pakistan, though, lacked that bite which is often associated with their bowling department. And towards the end of the series, their abysmal fielding - which saw regulation catches being put down and a slew of misfields, raised questions over their World Cup chances with less than two weeks to go for the showpiece event.

"That has been a massive difference between the two sides," conceded Mickey Arthur, Pakistan's head coach, after their 4-0 loss at Leeds. "At Southampton and Nottingham, it was anybody's game going into the last five overs. We competed really well. The one difference has been our fielding and that's a real worry for me."

Pakistan, historically, have struggled in terms of their fielding. However, during Steve Rixon's two-year tenure, Pakistan saw a marked improvement in relation to their fielding standards. Since he has moved away from the set-up, the side's fielding has deteriorated.

Even though Arthur credited the current fielding coach for his work, he did concede that one of the factors behind the decline was due to the addition of the players who didn't train under Rixon.

"We are putting in a hell lot of an effort in it and there's not a massive amount of reward there for us at the moment. We will just keep knocking away to make sure that we get it up to the speed because we have a couple of young, new players who weren't a part of that regime which we equipped to be the best as we can. So we are trying to put things up and bring them up to the speed as quick as we can.

"'Stumper' (Rixon) did a great job for us and Grant Bradburn is doing a wonderful job. Fielding is about attitude and wanting to get out there and get it done. Our boys' attitude has been outstanding throughout this series and in the years before. They know where they're short and they are not happy about it."

There's a notion in Pakistan that the side needs a 'bit of kick up on the backside' ahead of a major event. Famously, it happened during their successful 1992 World Cup campaign where they won only one match out of the first five. Most recently, it happened two years ago when they received a heavy drubbing from India in their Champions Trophy opener after which they turned into world-beaters overnight to clinch the title.

So, does this series defeat serve the same purpose? "We were beaten hands down at Edgbaston (by India in 2017 ICC Champions Trophy... that day and as I say I didn't really know where to turn because there wasn't a lot of positives that day," replied Arthur.

"We sit here and take a hell lot of the positives out of this series. Our batting has gone to another level and we have batted extremely well. That's given our dressing room a massive amount of confidence. When we were coming to England, people were saying we were a 280 team. I am taking a fair amount of positives certainly in that department out of this series.

"Our bowling and fielding has been average at best. Another thing is that we played against a team which is number one in their own conditions. I don't think there are too many other teams around in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we played against and match fitness, which is something very important.

"Though we need to sharpen up in certain disciplines but I am very confident with the team I have and I am very confident that we will get there and we will be good. The players are very determined to do well. Every time they go out in the middle they play for 210 million people. We all take defeat in a very disappointing way as our supporter base do."

The million dollar question at the moment is regarding the fate of Mohammad Amir. The left-armer was not a part of the preliminary World Cup squad, but Pakistan are said to be considering his selection for the final 15 despite the pacer missing out on the entire series due to illness.

Which means the call on his inclusion in the World Cup squad has to be taken on the three-fer that he returned in the Champions Trophy final against India and his five wickets in 101 overs at an average of 92.60 since.

Arthur revealed that Amir trained over the weekend and would be "ready to go", if picked. "Mohammad Amir trained yesterday for the first time. He had 25 minutes on bike and had a gym session. He had another one today so If selected he'd be ready to go."

Arthur and Inzamam ul Haq, Pakistan's chief selector, will have a chat on Monday to finalise the squad.