Cardiff: Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi on Saturday apologised to the cricket lovers on behalf of the team for the recent spot-fixing scandal, which has rocked the international cricket.
“I think this is a very bad news. On behalf of these boys - I know they are not in this series - I want to say sorry to all the cricket lovers and all the cricketing nations,” Afridi told reporters on the eve of the first Twenty20 here.
Pakistan will take on England in the first T20 on Sunday.
“These two Twenty20s and five ODIs (against England) are a big challenge for me as a captain. The coach (Waqar Younis) and I have told the boys not to talk about this (spot-fixing) issue. It is none of our business and we are here to play cricket.
“The boys know that. They want to win and motivate themselves - and as a captain, that is what I want,” he added.
Pakistan cricket found itself in a crisis after British tabloid ‘The News of the World’ broke the story about an alleged nexus between three players - captain Salman Butt and pacer duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir - and a bookie Mazhar Majeed.
Majeed, an agent for some Pakistan players, allegedly paid USD 230,000 for bowling no-balls in the Lord’s Test.
Afridi said that he had also noticed Majeed “travelling with some of the team guys, in Australia and the West Indies.
“I saw him on the tours and I didn’t know anything about it,” the all-rounder said.
“I’ve told the boys don’t read the newspaper tomorrow - just focus on cricket. I know the people (in Pakistan) are very upset and it is very disappointing. But we all love cricket.
“We want to play good cricket and positive cricket. If we can do that, maybe then when we go back home things will settle down,” he added.
Meanwhile, England T20 skipper Paul Collingwood said that the cricketers should be more vigilant in future in order to stop such fixing scandal from taking place.
“There’s always been rumours but gradually as things come out it may be up to the players to tell the authorities if they think something is going on,” Collingwood said.
“Not just the players but commentators, umpires, all of us, we’ve all got a job to do in the end to get rid of all this. Sunday was one of the saddest days in my career... I don’t really what to have that feeling on a cricket pitch ever again,” he added.
But Collingwood also claimed that they are fully focussed on the game and not thinking about the scandal.
“The players are definitely 100 per cent focused on the cricket that is coming up tomorrow and Tuesday,” he said.
Both the T20 matches will be held here.