Lahore: Pakistan are a more unified squad and will be unaffected by the 2010 spot-fixing scandal when they return to England in June for the Champions Trophy, according to captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
The International Cricket Council banned then-skipper Salman Butt and team mates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir following the Lord's test against England after the News of the World tabloid broke the story about spot-fixing in the match.
The trio were also handed jail terms by a London court in 2011 but have now returned to Pakistan after serving their sentences. "I don't think the scandal will haunt us and we are now mentally prepared to play in England for the first time since the incident," Misbah told Reuters on Thursday.
"It has been three years since the scandal and the players have made a conscious effort to project a positive image of Pakistan cricket with positive results. There is more discipline and unity in the team." The 38-year-old said the controversy had damaged the squad's image around the world.
"We see the Champions Trophy as an ideal opportunity to redeem ourselves in the eyes of our supporters in England because there is a big Asian community there," Misbah added.
He said the players were now given regular anti-corruption briefings while the Pakistan Cricket Board has indicated it will bring in a special vigilance officer for the Champions Trophy to monitor the movements of the squad.
"We have never won this tournament and the way the board is backing us I think we can surprise a lot of people," said middle-order batsman Misbah. Pakistan have been drawn in Champions Trophy Group B along with South Africa, West Indies and India.