Afridi apologises for spot-fixing controversy
Pakistan's one-day captain, Shahid Afridi, has issued a public apology on behalf of the three players suspended by the ICC after allegations of spot-fixing during the fourth Test at Lord's. Speaking to the press after the visiting team's training session ahead of the first Twenty20 against England in Cardiff, Afridi also distanced himself from the events of the last week and insisted that his team were focused on the remaining games of their tour.
"I think it is very bad news," said Afridi. "On behalf of these players - I know they are not in this series - but on behalf of these boys I want to say sorry to all cricket lovers and all the cricketing nations."
Afridi also revealed that Mazhar Majeed - the man alleged to be at the centre of the spot-fixing scandal - had accompanied the team on various tours in the past. "This guy has been travelling with the guys in the West Indies and in Australia," he said. "I saw him on the tours. I didn't know anything about this.
Afridi, who took no part in Pakistan's Test series against England after stepping down as Test captain after a 150-run loss to Australia at Lord's earlier this summer also guaranteed that the limited-overs leg of Pakistan's tour would continue despite any further revelations in the ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption in cricket.
"I told the boys don't read the newspapers tomorrow, just focus on cricket. I know the Pakistan people are very upset. We all love cricket. As a team all we can do is to play good, aggressive cricket and maybe when we go back home the things will settle down. It is a big challenge for me as a captain but I think we are all ready and focused.
"Myself and the coach have already told the boys: 'Don't talk about this issue, we are here to play cricket.' 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."