Hambantota (Sri Lanka), Feb 21 (PTI) The bans imposed onthree players for spot-fixing will not distract the Pakistanteam during their World Cup campaign, coach Waqar Younisasserted today.
Former Test captain Salman Butt and pacers Mohammed Asifand Mohammad Aamer were banned early this month by the ICC forbowling deliberating no balls at last year''s Lord''s Testagainst England, depleting Pakistan''s squad for the World Cup.
Waqar said the controversy is not even discussed in thedressing room and it will not haunt the team in the World Cup."It (spot-fixing controversy) is not haunting Pakistan atall. We all know we have been through tough times in recentpast but that does not mean that we don''t have talent," Waqarsaid ahead of Pakistan''s World Cup opening match against Kenyahere on Wednesday.
"Despite all these we are a good enough team to beatanybody. None of us is even talking of match-fixing orspot-fixing, whatever it was. It happened in the past and isbeyond us now," said the 39-year-old former fast bowler.
"We have stopped reading newspapers and watching TV. Weare now just keeping our focus on the job. That''s what we talkabout," he said.
Waqar refused comment when asked about England pacemanStuart Broad''s remarks that they were maintaining a distancefrom the Pakistan players in the aftermath of thecontroversy.
"I don''t want to comment on what he (Broad) said. If hehas said something which is not good and not fair to anyindividual 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 willget very good results in this tournament and we want to keepour focus," said Waqar.
Waqar also played down disciplinary breaches bycontroversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and newcomer WahabRiaz, who were both fined for returning late to the teamhotel.
"There were discipline problems and they were dealt withthen and there. It''s the management''s job to keep anynon-cricket thing on the side, while my job is to keep theplayers emotionally involved and produce better results," saidWaqar, who took over in March last year.
Waqar said Akhtar was still not 100 per cent fit.
"But he is a fitter bowler in our camp and I would say heis getting better and, hopefully, get into the rhythm by thequarter-final stages." PTI PDS AT