x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Pakistan nearly called off England tour after verbal spat

Pakistan considered not playing in the fourth one dayer after a dispute between England batsman Jonathan Trott and fast bowler Wahab Riaz in the nets.

KARACHI // Pakistan considered not playing in the fourth one dayer after a dispute between England batsman Jonathan Trott and fast bowler Wahab Riaz in the nets, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi admitted on Tuesday. Relations between the two teams have soured since allegations of spot fixing by the Pakistan team first emerged during the fourth Test last month and threatened to boil over on Monday with counter claims by both sides. While the verbal spat had been confined to administrators of the two sides, on Monday match referee Jeff Crowe was forced to intervene after Trott and Riaz exchanged angry words. "There was talk of not going in for the toss because of the incident," Afridi told Geo News television. "But better sense prevailed because we wanted to play the match and we want this series to end properly. "The match referee called both players and Trott apologised for his remarks and the matter ended there as far as we are concerned."

Pakistan won the match on Monday at Lords to level the acrimonious five match series 2-2 with the final match on Wednesday. The tour was, however, already irretrievably blighted by the suspensions of Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and teammates Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif after last month's fourth Test at Lord's. Left arm pacer Riaz was also questioned by British police about the allegations but has been allowed to participate in the one-day series. The third one dayer, which Pakistan won last Friday at the Oval, is also being scrutinised by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Afridi said the allegations have spurred on the players to win the ODI series. "This has only fuelled our ambitions to win the series. After the reports about the ICC investigating the third one-day match the Oval, we are more keen now to win this series," he said. "It is unfortunate the way this tour has gone but right now our complete focus is on the last ODI because there is nothing more sweet than victory in these circumstances," he said. * Reuters