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Cricket | Champions Trophy

Misbah-ul-Haq © Gallo Images

Fix scandal won't affect us now - Pakistan captain



Pakistan are a more unified squad and will be unaffected by the 2010 spot-fixing scandal when they return to England in June for the Champions Trophy, according to captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

The International Cricket Council banned then-skipper Salman Butt and teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir following the Lord's test against England after the News of the World tabloid broke the story about spot-fixing in the match.

The trio were also handed jail terms by a London court in 2011 but have now returned to Pakistan after serving their sentences.

"I don't think the scandal will haunt us and we are now mentally prepared to play in England for the first time since the incident," Misbah told Reuters on Thursday.

"It has been three years since the scandal and the players have made a conscious effort to project a positive image of Pakistan cricket with positive results. There is more discipline and unity in the team."

The 38-year-old said the controversy had damaged the squad's image around the world.

"We see the Champions Trophy as an ideal opportunity to redeem ourselves in the eyes of our supporters in England because there is a big Asian community there," Misbah added.

He said the players were now given regular anti-corruption briefings while the Pakistan Cricket Board has indicated it will bring in a special vigilance officer for the Champions Trophy to monitor the movements of the squad.

"We have never won this tournament and the way the board is backing us I think we can surprise a lot of people," said middle-order batsman Misbah.

Pakistan have been drawn in Champions Trophy Group B along with South Africa, West Indies and India.

PAKISTAN TO SEND VIGILANCE OFFICER

The Pakistan Cricket Board will send a vigilance officer with the team for this year's Champions Trophy in England in a bid to avoid a repeat of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.

PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf told Reuters on Friday that steps were being taken to ensure the image of Pakistan cricket did not suffer again as it did when the spot-fixing scandal broke on Pakistan's tour of England three years ago.

"What we are going to do is send a vigilance officer with the security manager that usually goes with the team. We are also going to have the players bound to a special code of conduct for the tour," Ashraf said.

Pakistan go to Scotland and Ireland for a series of one-dayers in May and then to England for the first time since former captain Salman Butt and teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned over spot-fixing during the fourth test against at Lord's in 2010.

The trio were jailed by a crown court in London in late 2011 and have now returned to Pakistan after serving their sentences.

"What mistakes we committed last time we will not repeat them. We have to consider Pakistan's prestige and respect," Ashraf said.

Ashraf said he would personally be briefing the players on what was expected of them on the tour.

"We don't want any unwelcome people around the team or the players being trapped into another scandal," he said.

A fourth Pakistani player, Danish Kaneria, who appealed against a life ban imposed on him by the England and Wales Cricket Board for corruption and fixing last year, will learn the outcome of his appeal on Friday.

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