England tour 'very sensitive' : Naveed Cheema

Updated: May 14, 2013, 2:27 PM IST

Islamabad: Returning to England for the Champions Trophy will be "very sensitive" for the Pakistan's players following the spot-fixing scandal three years ago, team manager Naveed Akram Cheema said Monday, urging his squad to just focus on the eight-team competition.

Cheema took over as manager in 2010, soon after three Pakistan players were charged of spot-fixing in a Test match during Pakistan's last tour of England.

Later fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and then-captain Salman Butt were banned for long periods. Last month Asif and Butt lost their appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne.

"The tour is very sensitive in a sense there could be lot of people who could have vested interests and try to malign us or let us down," Cheema told reporters in the eastern city of Lahore.

Pakistan is scheduled to leave for Scotland late Monday to play two one-day internationals. The team then travels to Dublin for two ODIs against Ireland before the Champions Trophy from June 7-23.

Pakistan is placed in Group B along with West Indies, South Africa and India. Group A comprises defending champion Australia, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

During its last tour of England the three Pakistani players conspired with businessman Mazhar Majeed to ensure players bowled deliberate no-balls at pre-arranged times during the Test match at Lord's.

Soon after the tour, security manager Khawaja Najam resigned and later recorded his statement regarding three players' involvement in spot-fixing with the ICC anti-corruption tribunal in Doha.

However, this time the Pakistan Cricket Board has taken extra precautionary measures by sending a vigilance officer along with a security manager.

"The players were psychologically motivated," Cheema said. "They were told what they not have to do and how to carry themselves."

Since Cheema took over, there has hardly been any off-field controversies with the Pakistan team.

Pakistan selectors have axed experienced Younis Khan and allrounder Shahid Afridi for the Champions Trophy and coach Dav Whatmore said he had enough resources to compete in the event.

"We feel we've got the best 15 what we can possibly have at this moment of time and in that 15 we feel we've got enough batting power to give us the runs to setup total or chase one down," Whatmore said.

First Published: May 14, 2013, 2:27 PM IST

Team Rankings

1 India 4338 121
2 Australia 4797 109
3 South Africa 3528 107
4 England 5071 101
5 New Zealand 4011 98
FULL Ranking