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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Pakistan coach Micky Arthur calls captain Sarfraz Ahmed 'true ambassador of the game' for reporting corruption

ICC anti-corruption unit reportedly investigating incident that allegedly took place early in series against Sri Lanka. Teams play each other for fifth and final time in this ODI series in Sharjah on Monday

Mickey Arthur, centre, is pleased with the honesty of one of his players. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Mickey Arthur, centre, is pleased with the honesty of one of his players. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Pakistan are focused on creating history on the field, rather than another potential corruption controversy, ahead of the fifth one-day international against Sri Lanka.

That is the view of Mickey Arthur, the coach, who described captain Sarfraz Ahmed as a “true ambassador of the game” for the way he handled an allegedly corrupt approach earlier in the series.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption unit are reportedly investigating the incident.

“A player was approached,” Najam Sethi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, wrote on social media on Saturday.

“As per rules he immediately reported to PCB who informed ICC. Matters are jointly in hand. No further comment.”

Arthur praised Sarfraz for the way he has handled the issue, and says it will not distract the side from their goal of a series cleansweep.

“To be honest, the player acted unbelievably well,” Arthur said. "He did everything required of him. We had a chat straight afterwards, he came and saw me. It was handled brilliantly.

“I think that is a real example to our team, and to the cricket world, that a really important player was approach, and acted to the letter of the law. He is a true ambassador of the game.”

Much of the Pakistan Super League was overshadowed earlier this year, after several players were suspended for their involvement in alleged corruption, as well as for failing to report approaches.

However, Arthur is confident his young side will be able to steer clear of similar trouble.

“I am very comfortable with where our players are,” he said. “Our players are outstanding. They are all intelligent young men, who are unbelievable individuals.

"I have no doubt that if any of them were approached in the same way, they would have acted in exactly the same way.”

Victory over a beleaguered Sri Lanka side at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Monday would be Pakistan’s ninth in a row in the format.

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Their best streak in ODIs is 12 wins, set in 2008, while the longest winning run of any team is 21 by Australia in 2003.

“The key for us is maintaining our hunger and ruthlessness,” Arthur said. “We spoke the other night saying that the world record is not that far away.

“We have to keep going with our momentum, stay hungry and put this series to bed.”

Pakistan’s outstanding limited-overs form starkly contrasts that of their opposition.

Sri Lanka have lost 11 successive matches in ODIs, and Nic Pothas, their coach, said they have been trying everything to attempt to arrest the run.

“The Pakistan team are Champions Trophy winners, they are on a roll,” Pothas said. “They are playing good one-day cricket, and they have got their formula down. They could wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning, and go and execute their roles and execute their skills.

“They are in a very good place. We probably know we are in different place.

“I don’t think we can call this a young team. We have some very senior guys in this team, who have played lot of one-day cricket.”