LONDON: England coach Andy Flower reckons his team’s achievements this summer have been devalued by the controversy surrounding the Pakistan team.
The ECB yesterday announced the final two one-day games will definitely go ahead tomorrow and Wednesday – despite further allegations of spot-fixing in Friday’s third match.
But Flower is upset that England’s Test series victory – and 2-1 one-day lead – have been overshadowed.
He said: It’s really sad for the game.
“From a selfish perspective, it’s really annoying.
“It devalues our Test series success and it’s also devaluing this one-day series.
“But looking at it from the game’s point of view – which is what we should all do – it’s very sad for cricket.”
The suspicion cast on events is felt, of course, not only by those asked to play but those who have continued to pay to watch.
Flower added: “It supplants the story of the game with the controversy of alleged cheating – and the story should be about the cricket and competition between two teams representing their country.”
All Flower and captain Andrew Strauss can do is to keep encouraging their players to prevent any Pakistan fightback in the one-day series.
Flower said: “There is only one way we should be approaching it and that is doing our job as well as we can – because there is little good to be gained from anything else.
“We have discussed it as a team. There are all sorts of distractions thrown your way when you play – and for us, the healthiest place to be is viewing it as a distraction that should not detract from our focus.”
But Flower admitted the allegations overshadowing the series inevitably take their toll on team relations.
He said: “I don’t really want to go into detail. But, of course, things like this affect the relationship between the sides.
“We want to go to Lord’s and win the game and series. That’s as simple as we’ll keep it.”
The ICC have confirmed they are looking at betting patterns in Friday’s match.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “We were informed a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match – and broadly speaking that information appeared to be correct.
“We feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full inquiry into this particular game.”
Pakistan Cricket Board legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi resonded last night by saying: “We don’t believe our players did any fixing in the third one-day match. At this stage these allegations appear unfounded.”