London - The scandals that have plagued recent series with Pakistan must be forgotten when England play them in the United Arab Emirates later this month, captain Andrew Strauss said on Monday.
Three visiting players were jailed two months ago for their part in a spot-fixing scandal in the Test series in England in 2010, and the corresponding series four years earlier also ended with Pakistan refusing to play on in one Test.
When umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised the Pakistan team for ball-tampering, skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to bring his players on to the field and the Test was forfeited, the first incident of its kind.
An International Cricket Council (ICC) adjudicator later cleared Pakistan of ball-tampering charges but banned Inzamam for misconduct.
“There is a perception there are always issues between Pakistan and England and we should see this as an opportunity to eradicate that perception,” captain Strauss told reporters as his world number one side prepared to fly out from Heathrow airport.
“There is no reason why that should be the case and, as I said, if we both approach it in the right spirit it should be good for relations between both teams and for world cricket.”
Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were jailed in November for their involvement in a plot to bowl no-balls at pre-arranged times in the 2010 series.
“I think the spot-fixing stuff is something we are desperately keen to move on from. No good can come from churning it all up again and it's time to concentrate on the cricket,” said Strauss.
“I'm certainly excited about playing in what are going to be fairly alien conditions to what we are used to and that is going to be a good challenge against some good cricketers. That is plenty to worry about without thinking of anything else.”
The series is being held on neutral territory due to security concerns in Pakistan. They have not been allowed to host international matches since the 2009 gun attack on the touring Sri Lanka team in Lahore.
England and Pakistan lock horns in Dubai for the first Test on January 17. They will then contest a further two Tests, four one-day matches and three Twenty20 fixtures. – Reuters