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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Corruption hearing overshadows NZ-Pak Test series

Corruption hearing overshadows NZ-Pak Test series

January 06, 2011 11:44 IST

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq says his team are focused on the upcoming Test series against New Zealand and will not be distracted by an anti-corruption hearing that could mete out life bans to three suspended players.

The International Cricket Council will open a hearing in Doha against former Test captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Muhammad Amir later on Thursday, less than 24 hours before the first of a two-Test series at Seddon Park.

"We are just focused on cricket. We have nothing to do with what's happening (in Doha)," he said on Thursday.

misbah-ul-haq"Everyone who is here is focused on what's happening here and to do well here."

In addition to the spot-fixing claims levelled against three players during their series in England last year, Pakistan have been dogged by other controversies over the past 12 months.

There have been reports of divisions within the squad, several players have been suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board, while one player left the team fearing for his safety after refusing to co-operate with match-fixers.

Pakistan's captain said the team could not afford to focus on the proceedings in Doha or dwell on the past 12 months. They had to concentrate on the Tests and one-dayers against New Zealand before the World Cup.

"We are not thinking about what has happened in the last 12 months, we are just looking at what is going to come today and tomorrow. What's coming next, we are ready for that."

New Zealand, under their fourth coach in two years in the shape of John Wright, have failed to perform consistently at Test level.

Their naturally aggressive stroke-making lineup has often failing to bat time, meaning their corps of fast-medium bowlers have not been able to rest properly between innings.

However, their recent tour of India suggested they are on the right track, with their batsmen batting for long periods and Brendon McCullum, who is no longer wicketkeeping in the longer form, notching his first Test double century.

"We competed in India because we scored big first innings runs and were able to stay in the game so that's our first goal," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori. "And (then we need to) bring as much penetration as we can with the ball."

Teams:

New Zealand (probable): Daniel Vettori (captain), Tim McIntosh, Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Reece Young, Tim Southee, Brent Arnel, Chris Martin.

Pakistan (possible): Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz.

Source:
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