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England Was Toughest Tour Of My Career, Says Shahid Afridi

Islamabad, Sept 24: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said the tour of England was the most difficult of his cricket career and he struggled to cope with the fallout from the off-field controversies. The Pakistan team
PTI September 24, 2010 13:57 IST
PTI
Islamabad, Sept 24: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said the tour of England was the most difficult of his cricket career and he struggled to cope with the fallout from the off-field controversies.

The Pakistan team returned early Friday after a scandal-filled tour in which spot fixing allegations against its cricketers overshadowed England's victories in the test and limited-overs series.

"It was tough because of the controversies and became very difficult to cope with. Every time we went out of the hotel people passed remarks against us," Afridi told reporters in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday.

The International Cricket Council suspended three Pakistan cricketers pending an investigation after a British tabloid accused the trio of accepting bribes to bowl no-balls at specified times in the Lord's test against England.

Another Pakistani cricketer, Wahab Riaz, was questioned by British police over the spot fixing allegations.

Riaz was also involved in a confrontation with Jonathan Trott just before the fourth one-day international at Lord's when, according to Afridi, the England player said Riaz was a match fixer and hit him on the face with the pads.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief chairman Ijaz Butt annoyed the hosts this week by suggesting England players could have been involved in match fixing.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has threatened legal action against Butt and demanded an apology.

However, Afridi, who led Pakistan in the limited-day series, said his players remained united which helped them to level the series 2-2 before losing the deciding match at Southampton on Wednesday.

"The best part of the whole tour was that the players showed unity even in difficult times and gave a good fight."

Pakistan started a long tour of England with two wins in Twenty20 internationals against Australia.

The spiral began when Afridi retired from test cricket after losing the first test to Australia in July and Salman Butt _ one of the three Pakistan cricketers who're now under suspension _ was elevated to the captaincy.

"I will think about it and if the team needs it, I may consider playing the test series against South Africa," Afridi said.

Pakistan Waqar Younis said he was pleased to win the twenty20 games against Australia and also draw the two-test series against Ricky Ponting's team, but it was difficult once the spot fixing allegations surfaced.

"We had success against Australia which was pleasing, but because of the controversies it was tough against England.

"You needed that extra effort to gee up the players when you see a report in the newspaper every other day."

Pakistan is scheduled to play test and one-day series against South Africa next month in the United Arab Emirates. AP