Broad staying away from Pakistan

Stuart Broad admitted he was keeping his distance from Pakistan as the teams prepared for their first meeting since the ‘spot-fixing’ scandal

Dhaka, February 17, 2011

England fast bowler Stuart Broad admitted he was keeping his distance from Pakistan as the teams prepared for their first meeting since the ‘spot-fixing’ scandal.

Friday’s World Cup warm-up match in Dhaka will see the two countries resume cricketing rivalry following last year’s controversial series in England which were overshadowed by spot-fixing allegations that led to bans for Pakistan trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.

Relations between the sides plumbed new depths when England’s Jonathan Trott and Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz were involved in a physical confrontation ahead of a one-day international at Lord’s in September. “We’ve not seen a huge amount of them in the hotel – we’ve not been going out for dinner with them particularly,” Broad told reporters on Thursday. “Obviously it was a tough summer for us last year, all England players will say the same.

“We enjoyed playing the cricket, but off-the-field incidents did damage our wonderful summer of cricket,” admitted Broad, whose maiden Test century against Pakistan at Lord’s was called into question when it was alleged Butt, Asif and Aamer had conspired to deliberately bowl no-balls as part of a betting scam.

“You’ve got to move on, it’s international sport. You’ve got a job to do to prepare for our World Cup campaign, that’s our sole focus,” Broad insisted. Broad returned to action with a five-wicket haul in England’s narrow 16-run warm-up win over outsiders Canada on Wednesday following a stomach injury that cut short his part in the Test side’s victorious Ashes tour of Australia.

He’d recently also been suffering with illness but showed few effects in taking five wickets for 37 runs against Canada. “I was a bit nervous before the start,” Broad said. “It was great to get back on the pitch and take some wickets.

“We weren’t overly happy with the performance but there are positives we can take out of the game. I hadn’t had as much bowling as I’d have wanted. A few of the lads have had it (illness) — that happens in this part of the world and hopefully I’ve got mine out of the way.”

Broad was forced home after tearing an abdominal muscle in the second Test in Adelaide and so missed the team’s recent 6-1 one-day series thrashing by Australia that followed the Ashes. “We have some points to prove after the last seven or eight games of our ODI form and it’s important we start that tomorrow (Friday),” Broad said.

England surprised many observers with their 2010 World Twenty20 triumph in the Caribbean and Broad believes that experience will be invaluable at the World Cup. “What we learnt from that tournament is that we gained momentum throughout. That’s one thing we have to do here. It’s a long tournament and we have to gain momentum.

“Going to that T20 no-one outside the set up believed we could win. But inside we had real belief. Everyone knew their roles and when you have that confidence, it’s a very powerful thing.”

England start the tournament proper against the Netherlands — who dramatically beat England in the 2009 World Twenty20 at Lord’s when Broad’s wild overthrow sealed the upset — in Nagpur, western India and the seamer said: “There is no time for slip-ups when we play the Netherlands on Tuesday.”

AFP