We didn`t want to continue after Riaz-Trott fiasco: Afridi
Karachi: Pakistan one-day captain Shahid Afridi has admitted that following a clash between left arm pacer Wahab Riaz and England batsman Jonathan Trott, his team had considered not playing the fourth one-day international at Lord`s.
Pakistan won the match to level the five match series at 2-2 but the clash between Riaz and Trott highlighted the tensions between the two teams and the two boards after Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Ijaz Butt launched a scathing attack on the English players in the spot-fixing scandal.
Afridi confirmed that the two players clashed before the match in the nets when Trott called Riaz a "spot fixer".
It was an uncalled for accusation and not befitting a professional playing for his country. The incident got ugly as Riaz also reacted rightly to the slur. But we intervened and stopped the matter from getting out of hand," Afridi said.
The Pakistan skipper said that after the incident in the nets, his players were so upset that they were calls for him not to go out for the toss.
"There was lot of tension in the dressing room but better sense prevailed and we went ahead with the match because we want this series played and completed despite the bad atmosphere," he said.
Afridi said that Trott had later apologized to Riaz in front of the match referee and the matter was closed.
"But what he did was something that could have led to us filing a police case. He threw a pad at Riaz which was not an acceptable behaviour at all.”
Wahab Riaz has also been questioned by Scotland Yard detectives in London last week in the spot fixing allegations against Pakistani players since the fourth Test against England at Lord`s, late August. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Test captain, Salman Butt and pace bowlers, Mohammed Aamer and Mohammed Asif over the allegations.
After Pakistan won the third ODI at the Oval last week, the ICC said it was also investigating the match after getting credible reports that there had been spot-fixing in the match.
The ICC statement triggered off an unusual outburst from Ejaz Butt who in a counter-attack alleged the England players were involved in fixing and a winning team didn`t fix matches.
His statement has soured relations between the two boards and England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday, Pakistan won`t be allowed to use their grounds as neutral venues in future.
Afridi said there was a clear pattern to pressurize and humiliate the Pakistan team.
"But this has only fuelled our ambitions to win the series.”
"After the reports about the ICC investigating the third ODI at the Oval, we are more keen now to win this series," he said.
He said he had told his players to withstand the pressure and campaign against the team as they had the will to take the pressure and do well as they had shown in the last two matches.
Afridi said it was disappointing the way the tour had progressed since the spot fixing allegations came out.
"But right now we are just concentrating on the final match because nothing would be sweeter then winning the series to answer our critics," he said.