x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Pakistan's cricketers touch down, hoping for a quiet life

The sports team holding the unofficial world record for off-field distractions arrives in the UAE.

ABU DHABI // The sports team holding the unofficial world record for off-field distractions arrived in the UAE yesterday.

Pakistan's cricketers are surrounded by such hubbub that they might find their time on the field relatively tranquil.As Shahid Afridi, the team's limited-overs captain, put it: "What the team desperately needs is some good results, and I'm sure that if we play to our potential we can do that."

When the series with South Africa begins on Tuesday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi the squad will receive vocal support from the 1.2 million Pakistanis in the UAE. They will see a team eager to rebuild a reputation scarred by the summer's betting scandal.

"With the eyes of the cricket world on us, the players will have to be on their best behaviour and prove Pakistan's critics wrong," said Intikhab Alam, the venerated former coach who has returned as team manager for this series.