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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Spot-fixing controversy not haunting Pak: Waqar

Spot-fixing controversy not haunting Pak: Waqar

February 21, 2011 18:21 IST

The bans imposed on three players for spot-fixing will not distract the Pakistan team during their World Cup campaign, coach Waqar Younis asserted on Monday.

Former Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammed Asif and Mohammad Aamer were banned early this month by the ICC for deliberately bowling no-balls at last year's Lord's Test against England, depleting Pakistan's squad for the World Cup.

Waqar said the controversy is not even discussed in the dressing room and it will not haunt the team in the World Cup.

- Video: Waqar press conference

"It (spot-fixing controversy) is not haunting Pakistan at all. We all know we have been through tough times in recent past but that does not mean that we don't have talent," Waqar said, ahead of Pakistan's World Cup opening match against Kenya here on Wednesday.

"Despite all these we are a good enough team to beat anybody. None of us is even talking of match-fixing or spot-fixing, whatever it was. It happened in the past and is beyond us now," said the 39-year-old former fast bowler.

"We have stopped reading newspapers and watching TV. We are now just keeping our focus on the job. That's what we talk about," he said.

Waqar refused comment when asked about England paceman

Stuart Broad's remarks that they were maintaining a distance from the Pakistan players in the aftermath of the controversy.

"I don't want to comment on what he (Broad) said. If he has said something which is not good and not fair to any individual or to any team, if he wants to keep doing that, well we will probably show it on the field.

"Pakistan are one of the top teams. I hope that we will get very good results in this tournament and we want to keep our focus," said Waqar.

Waqar also played down disciplinary breaches by controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and newcomer Wahab Riaz, who were both fined for returning late to the team hotel.

"There were discipline problems and they were dealt with then and there. It's the management's job to keep any non-cricket thing on the side, while my job is to keep the players emotionally involved and produce better results," said Waqar, who took over in March last year.

Waqar said Akhtar is still not 100 per cent fit.

"But he is a fitter bowler in our camp and I would say he is getting better and, hopefully, get into the rhythm by the quarter-final stages."

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