Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

England almost "boycotted" 2010 Pak tour after Ijaz Butt comments - Strauss

Former England captain Andrew Strauss has revealed that his team almost boycotted the end of the 2010 One Day International series against Pakistan after the match-fixing scandal during the Tests matches earlier that summer.

Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of "spot-fixing" during the fourth test at Lord's and hit with long bans from cricket.

But it was a subsequent counter-allegation from Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt against the England team which raised the genuine possibility of the home team refusing to play.

Having won the first two one-day internationals by 24 runs and then four wickets, England reached 201 for five in the next at the Oval and needed only 41 more runs to win the series with two games to spare.

They lost their last five wickets for 17 runs, though, and while Strauss put the defeat down to the "excellent reverse-swing bowling" of Umar Gul (six for 42), Butt had his own theory.

Strauss wrote in his book Driving Ambition, in an extract published in the Daily Mail: "The problem came after that game, when the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board suggested in the media that the England team might have been match-fixing, so sudden was our collapse. This was a step too far.

"Maybe we were all just too emotional but as far as I and the rest of the players were concerned, he had crossed the line. It was clear none of us had any stomach left to play the fourth ODI."

The England team discussed the issue and were of a mind not to proceed with the following day's match but the intervention of England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke proved crucial

"Obviously the ECB, with all the financial ramifications of cancellation at the forefront of their minds, were keen to finish the series," Strauss wrote.

"Although the overwhelming majority of the players felt that boycotting the game was the correct course of action, we invited Giles Clarke to come into the room and put forward the ECB's case.

"He sat in the room talking about the dangerous precedent that we might set, the potential damage to the political relations between Pakistan and England, as well as the duty we had to the thousands of supporters who would be turning up the next day.

"When he left the room we had a decision to make. I told the guys my own views had changed somewhat. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that boycotting the game would make us the news story, with people questioning our motives, rather than concentrating on the serious issues within the Pakistan cricket team.

"Far better, to my mind, to put together a joint statement - written by us, the players - showing our displeasure at the chairman of the PCB in the strongest possible terms and then get on with the cricket."

England went on to lose the Lord's clash by 38 runs, Gul again ripping through the lower order to finish with four for 32, but won the series 3-2 as Eoin Morgan's unbeaten century set up victory in the decider in Southampton.

- Agencies



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