Spot-fixing a thing of the past, Pakistan skipper says
Dubai: It was a tough welcome for Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq. He was grilled by the English media yesterday which tried their best to provoke him with questions over the spot-fixing scandal during their last series.
Misbah kept his cool through his repeated answers that the spot-fixing saga is a thing of the past and that he and his team now focus on the present and future.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) XI captain Sarfraz Ahmad and their coach Ejaz Ahmad were also not spared the barrage of questions on the spot fixing scandal.
Ejaz, who accompanied Sarfraz in an earlier press conference, was forced to even reveal that all his players return to their hotel rooms by 10pm and not go anywhere.
Sarfraz was a bit stumped when a reporter asked whether he is surprised that a former Pakistan captain is in prison.
The only statement that Misbah had about his team was: "We are playing a lot of cricket here on these wickets and our team is performing well. So it is definitely a boost to play here and the confidence level of our team is high."
Misbah, however, defended his team strongly when asked how Pakistan had moved on after the 2010 scandal.
"The credit goes to the team and all the players. After that difficult time, everybody stuck to the task and gathered their thoughts. Everybody wanted to prove to the world that we are good players and a good team," he said.
"I think they just proved it and they are really focusing on cricket and making my job easier. I have a good bunch of boys and a very good team; they are really focusing on their cricket and on their performance and that is why the team is performing well."
Misbah was even asked whether his team was corruption-proof. "Our performance over a year-and-a-half shows that we are going the right way," he said.
When asked whether he can make sure that the next generation is not tempted by corruption, Misbah said: "It is not our area of concern. Our concern is to play good, fair cricket and that is all I can do."
Manager to the rescue
At this point, Naveed Akram Cheema, the manager of the team, intervened and said: "Whatever has happened in the past has happened. The current team is focusing on the present and the future. At the same time our board has introduced a code of conduct and an anti-corruption code and all the guys are following it in letter and spirit. So I think with those rules and regulations in place, chances are nothing can go wrong."
Some journalists even questioned the inclusion of Wahab Riaz who was mentioned in the spot-fixing scandal. Cheema defended it saying that "unless one is proven guilty he should not be penalised".
However, Misbah was again asked whether memories of the incident resurface and how he has been able to move on with three of his players in prison.
He firmly said: "Everyone in the team knows we have to forget the past. Nobody is bothered what happened in the past. We have come here to play good cricket."