Pakistan's limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis have welcomed the ICC's decision to give a clean chit to last month's ODI against England at The Oval. The ICC had launched an investigation into the match after receiving information from the Sun newspaper before the game began alleging that bookies were aware of certain scoring patterns during the game. On Wednesday, they said their investigation was complete and "there was no compelling evidence to suspect individual players or support staff" of wrongdoing.
"I am very happy after hearing the news," Afridi, who led Pakistan to victory in that match, told AFP. "I had and will always have full confidence in my team that they will not do anything like that. I have told the players to always remain focused on cricket and forget anything else, and that's what they were doing in the one-day series in England."
Afridi's views were echoed by Waqar, who also hoped for a quick end to the controversies surrounding the England tour. Prior to the the ODI series, a News of the World expose had alleged that three players from the Pakistan side - Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif - were involved in spot-fixing during the Lord's Test. The trio has been suspended by the ICC pending investigations.
"It's [the ruling on The Oval ODI] very good news for Pakistan cricket," Waqar told AFP. "I sincerely hope that all spot-fixing cases are solved soon because they have tarnished Pakistan's reputation."
Taffazul Rizvi, legal adviser to the Pakistan Cricket Board, also welcomed the ruling, and added that any decision on following legal recourse against the British newspapers would wait for the outcome of the spot-fixing inquiry.