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May 13, 2013
Pakistan's tour to England in 2010 was embroiled in controversy as the spot-fixing debacle created waves around the cricket world. To protect players from unsolicited approaches and avoid a repeat of the affair, the PCB has decided to deploy a security officer and a vigilance officer who will monitor player activities, with the intention of protecting them from unwanted social contact and media interviews.
This will be Pakistan's first visit to England since that ill-fated tour. They will depart on Monday night and stop briefly in Scotland and Ireland to play two ODIs against both countries, before heading to England for the Champions Trophy.
"It's a very sensitive tour," Naveed Akram Cheema, the team manager, told reporters at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. "All the players realise the importance of it, and they should maintain strict discipline as we don't want a repeat of events. Players [have been] told to restrict their off-field movements and focus on the game."
Security has been increased in light of the spot-fixing controversy, which erupted during the fourth Test against England at Lord's in 2010. Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who were involved in the incident, were sentenced in November 2011 at Southwark Crown Court for conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat.
"They are all spirited players and over the last two-three years have played as a unit. The tour is sensitive in that there are lots of people who could have vested interests, and we have to counter that," Cheema said. "Psychologically, they are motivated and united."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was "optimistic" about the side's chances in the Champions Trophy, but was wary that the team would face a dual test, both on and off the field, during the tournament.
Dav Whatmore, Pakistan's head coach, also expressed high hopes for the team. "We begin every series with an intent to win," Whatmore said. "We feel we've got the best fifteen that we can possibly have at the moment. ICC events are slightly different to bilateral series as there is a requirement to win and finish in the top two. Our objective in all cases is to win tournaments."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Umar Farooq
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala