Strauss wants controversy-free cricket with Pakistan
London: England captain Andrew Strauss is hoping he doesn’t again find himself witnessing a dispute involving Pakistan as the teams prepare for their first Test since a ‘ball-tampering’ row in 2006.
Matches between the sides have generated plenty of flashpoints, be it Shahid Afridi scuffing up the pitch on a good length last time they met in Pakistan or the row between then England captain Mike Gatting and Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana in Faisalabad in 1987.
It all makes the recent flare-up that saw match referee Chris Broad, father of England bowler Stuart, warn only Pakistan seamer Mohammad Aamer for his part in a collision with Australia captain Ricky Ponting in the first Test at Lord’s, seem tame by comparison.
But all those incidents were eclipsed by the extraordinary scene that unfolded at The Oval four years ago.
Strauss, deputising as England captain for the injured Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff, was a spectator as umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised Pakistan five runs for ball-tampering on the fourth day of the series finale in south London.
So incensed were Pakistan, they refused to take the field after tea and were thus deemed to have forfeited the match -- the first time this had happened in Test history.
Even now, Strauss wonders if he could have done something more to prevent the match reaching its volatile climax.
“It was a terrible day and terrible for Test cricket. No one came out of that day with any credit,” Strauss told a newspaper.
“Being new to the captaincy, I probably wasn’t qualified to know what to do about it. I don’t think I could have done much that would have changed what happened, but maybe I could have spoken more to Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pakistan’s captain). It’s hard to say.”
“It was not something that the England team were particularly involved in but it was not a great advert for the game and let’s hope we don’t get anything like that in the future.”
The 2006 series was a prelude to England, who then as now held the Ashes, being thrashed 5-0 in Australia.
Strauss, who reckons the upcoming Ashes and subsequent World Cup in Asia will “define” his career, hopes history is not about to repeat itself.
“We all learned lessons. Hopefully that will help me to captain the side well out there (Australia) this (northern) winter.
“As for the bad memories, time moves on. We are playing against a different Australian side, we are a different side ourselves,” the opening batsman added.
“To a certain extent, what happens in Australia and in the World Cup will define my career. You don’t get these opportunities very often and you have to be ready to take them.”
England play the first of four Tests against Pakistan starting in Nottingham on Thursday and the teams will also contest two Twenty20 and five one-day internationals, the last on September 22.