Karachi: Pakistani pacer Wahab Riaz believes the national team will not be haunted by the spot-fixing scandal when they go to England for the ICC Champions Trophy in June. Wahab was part of the Pakistan squad that was hit by the spot-fixing scandal in 2010 after the fourth Test at Lords, which led to the suspension of captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, followed by bans.
Wahab was also suspected of being involved in the spot-fixing racket when his footage was released by now defunct tabloid 'News of the World' with the Pakistani bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed. But the pacer was later cleared of all wrongdoings. "I don't think what happened in the past will affect us now. It is history now and I think the team is now just focused on doing well in the Champions Trophy," he told reporters at the national stadium.
"Those were difficult times for Pakistan cricket but the players have shown after that they are committed to presenting a positive image of Pakistan cricket to the world," he added. Wahab is among a list of pace bowlers who are presently being trained by Pakistan's legendary pacer, Wasim Akram, in a 10-day specialised camp at the National stadium.
Wahab said spending time with Wasim and getting one-to-one attention from him was proving very beneficial for all the bowlers. "I am working hard on my outswinger but Wasim has great experience and he is focusing on teaching us how to make use of our run-up, the crease and the bouncer/slower ball in all three formats of the game," the pacer, who took five wickets on his test debut at the Oval in 2010, said.
"There are these small details he is talking about which otherwise we didn't pay attention to, like how to best use the new ball and that is great for all of us," he said. Pakistan's head coach Dav Whatmore also joined the camp today and paid special attention to the bowling of Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz and Ehsan Adil with the new ball.
Pakistan's national selection committee continued its deliberations for the third day with no signs yet of the final squad being announced for the ICC Champions Trophy. A source in the committee told PTI that one thing that had been decided by the selectors was that all players would have to undergo fitness tests before they are sent to England.
"The team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq has infact insisted that fitness tests should be conducted before the squad is announced as the deadline for sending the final 15 names to the ICC is around May 5," the source said.