Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said on Monday that the spot-fixing scandal, which sparked lengthy bans for three high-profile players, will not haunt his embattled team at the World Cup.
In fact, the controversy, said Waqar, is not even discussed in the dressing room.
“I don’t think it will haunt Pakistan at all,” said Waqar, ahead of Pakistan’s opening match here on Wednesday against Kenya.
“We all know that we have been through tough times in the recent past but that does not mean that we don’t have talent.
“Despite the problems we are a good enough team to beat anybody. Nobody is even talking of match-fixing or spot-fixing, whatever it was. It happened in the past and is beyond us now,” said the 39-year-old former fast bowler.
Waqar said he and his players have learnt to deal with controversies.
“Pakistan are one of the top teams. I fully hope that we will get very good results in this tournament and we want to keep our focus on winning,” said Waqar, who played 87 Tests and 232 one-dayers for Pakistan.
Waqar also played down discipline breaches by controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and newcomer Wahab Riaz, who were both fined for returning late to the team hotel.
“There were discipline problems and they were dealt with then and there. It’s the management’s job to keep any non-cricket thing on the side, while my job is to keep the players emotionally involved and produce better results, “said Waqar, who took over in March last year.
Waqar said Akhtar was still not hundred percent fit. “But he is a fitter bowler in our camp and I would say he is getting better and, hopefully, get into the rhythm by the quarter-final stages.”