Tue, 17 Jan 2012 08:39:05 GMT

Misbah out to win fans back

Dubai: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wants to start rebuilding the country's cricketing image and remove the blot of spot-fixing with a good performance in the first Test against top-ranked England.


Misbah out to win fans back

"You can just get your image back only by playing good cricket, by winning, by your good conduct in the field and out of the field," Misbah told reporters on the eve of first of the three-Test series on Monday.

Three Pakistan players were sent to jail last year in England for conspiracy and cheating during a Test at Lord's in 2010.

Misbah was handed the captaincy after that controversial tour and Pakistan have not lost a Test series since, beating Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in their last three series.

"The way we are doing things, the way we are playing for the last year and a half, I think we are on the right path," Misbah said.

The Pakistan captain also hoped this matchup will help improve both countries bury the spot-fixing scandal once and for all.

"We just want to play cricket in a good atmosphere ... build good relations with the (England) team," Misbah said.

"Whatever happens on the field, just prove your performance on the field and nothing else."

England captain Andrew Strauss hoped there will be no controversy this time, and that both teams play the game in the "right way."

"It is important that we recognize our responsibilities (and) make sure that things don't escalate into something more serious," he said.

England comes into the first Test having won its last six Test series, and Misbah said Pakistan will have to capitalize on any chances the visitors give them in order to spring a surprise.

"We have to be on top of our game all the time, that's the key for us, if we just do that we have a chance," he said.

Pakistan players have been hyping a new type of delivery from Saeed Ajmal, who took 50 wickets in 2010, that the offspinner has dubbed the teesra. However, Misbah tried to tone down the hype.

"The main thing is his offspinners and the doosra," Misbah said.

"First the batsman have to just think about that and then (Ajmal) sees if he survives the two then he can bowl the teesra."

England could win an ICC jackpot of $175,000 for topping test rankings by winning the series, or even losing by no more than a one-game margin.

But Misbah said England may be more keen to prove that their players can handle the slow subcontinent wickets.

"They want to prove they are an even better team in Asia and (show) they can play well in these type of conditions," he said.

Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium last year, but Misbah said the wicket looked much better than three months ago.

Fast bowler Stuart Broad bruised his foot while batting in the nets on Sunday, but Strauss was confident his new ball bowler will be ready to go in Tuesday's match.

Like Misbah, Strauss will wait until the toss before deciding whether to play with two spinners after left-arm Monty Panesar did well in the warmup game against PCB XI.

"It's fantastic to see him back in England shirt again," Strauss said.

"You pick the side you think fits the conditions and allow you to win and that's all we will do tomorrow."

Source: AP

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