Karachi: Interim Pakistan coach Mohsin Khan said his team were hoping for a 'fresh start' when they take on England for the first time since the spot-fixing scandal next month.
The former Test opener took temporary charge of the team after Waqar Younis quit for personal reasons in September and has been retained for next month's Test and one-day series against England in the United Arab Emirates. "We know the two teams will play for the first time since the spot-fixing scandal last year in England," Khan said.
"We have seen the negative comments in the British media. But we just want to focus on playing a positive and good series."
Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed in London last month for spot-fixing elements of a Test match against England at Lord's in 2010. Although the most significant, the scandal was not the only controversy surrounding Tests between the two countries in recent years.
In 2006, Pakistan forfeited a Test at the Oval after umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised them for ball-tampering, leading to tension between the two cricket boards. The ICC adjudicator later cleared Pakistan of the ball tampering charges but banned former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq for misconduct.
Khan, who has led Pakistan to series wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in his temporary role, was confident relations between the players would remain cordial even if he believes strong officiating will be necessary. "The roles of the referee and umpires will be significant," he added. "Whatever has happened in the past is history. We are looking ahead now. For us it is a fresh start. We want to prove ourselves with our performances that is all. The rest is history."
Khan also defended the recall of left arm paceman Wahab Riaz, insisting all players considered for selection had been cleared to play by the Pakistan board. Wahab, whose name was mentioned in court during the spot-fixing trial in London but has never been charged with an offense, had not played international cricket for six months before his recall for the England series.
"We wanted Wahab because he exploits the old ball well and gets reverse swing," he said. "These will be important for us on the pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi."
Pakistan, who are unable to host international matches for security reasons, will play three Tests, four one-day internationals and three Twenty/20 matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from Jan. 17.