Afridi prepares to lead after ‘fix’ row

Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi said he was looking forward to getting back to cricket despite the...


Afp September 02, 2010

TAUNTON: Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi said he was looking forward to getting back to cricket despite the “challenge” of leading a team engulfed in a spot-fixing scandal. Pakistan are due to play Somerset today in their first game since several members of the side were implicated in a betting scam.

Afridi said, “We are definitely looking forward to getting back to cricket. We had a very good practice session.

“The coach [Waqar Younis] and I are trying to keep the morale high. It’s always very difficult in these conditions against a good team but they are all really focused.”

The News of the World alleged that bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir, as well as Test captain Salman Butt, were involved in a plan to deliberately bowl no-balls in the fourth Test against England last week as part of a scheme devised by a ‘fixer’ it had contacted in a ‘sting’ operation.

Afridi did not play in that match, having resigned the Test captaincy after Pakistan’s 150-run loss in the first of two Tests against Australia at Lord’s in July. But the leg-spinning all-rounder remained captain of Pakistan’s one-day and Twenty20 teams.

He has now returned for the limited overs leg of the tour, which sees Pakistan play two Twenty20 internationals against England - the reigning world champions in that format -- in Cardiff on Sunday and Tuesday, before the teams contest a five-match one-day series.

Afridi insisted his players would be able to put the allegations aside and concentrate on the task at hand when they faced Somerset.

“What has happened has gone,” said Afridi. “We are here to play good cricket. It’s a big challenge for me personally, playing in English conditions is always difficult.

“We are all looking forward to it. It has been really difficult but we can forget everything, get out, play cricket and entertain the people.”

There were protests outside Pakistan’s hotel in London, where they lost the fourth Test by an innings and 225-runs - their heaviest Test loss - and with it the series 3-1.

But there have been no protests at their Taunton hotel and Somerset chief executive Richard Gould was confident today’s match would pass off without spectator unrest.

“We are not anticipating anything of that order,” said Gould. “We’ve got a really good atmosphere generally in the ground.

“I suspect there might be a little bit of humour thrown in, with a few comments, but we won’t let anything go beyond light-hearted banter.”

Pakistan will be without Aamir, Asif and Salman after the players left the squad for a meeting in London today with the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan high commissioner in London.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2010

COMMENTS (1)

Majid | 11 years ago | Reply I do not know if the players are innocent or not - neither do any of us, so we should not judge them yet. But The Guardian Newspaper in the UK has just ran a story Thursday 2 September 2010 17.28 BST - written by James Robinson - http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/02/mp-news-of-the-world-inquiry - It details that The News of The World paper which made the video of the betting scam uses illegal phone tappings of many public figures in the UK. Keyword here is 'ILLEGAL', this is a news paper which belongs to Rupert Murdochs News Corp. Group, and I want you to all to take a look at the where the allegations against the players have stemmed from. How can you trust a News paper which uses illegal methods to make headlines and sell papers. Before I read this story I thought wrongly of Pakistan's cricketers too, but having read this story in The Guardian newspaper about the Illegal activities of the News of the World Paper, I am now not going to jump on the bandwagon against the players, and I think they have been setup, just like Wajid Hassan says. Please take a look at the story in The Guardian newspaper's website, and The New York Times has also reported on the illegal activities of Rupert Murdochs newspaper.
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