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Andrew Strauss: England nearly boycotted 2010 ODI series with Pakistan

Andrew Strauss: England close to a boycott during Pakistan 2010 ODI series

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Former captain Andrew Strauss has revealed England came close to boycotting the end of the 2010 one-day international series with Pakistan.

It was a summer which will remembered mainly for the spot-fixing scandal in which Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of bowling deliberate no-balls under instruction from captain Salman Butt during the fourth Test at Lord's.

All three were subsequently jailed and handed long bans from cricket.

But Strauss has revealed that Pakistan actually accused England of match-fixing in the one-day series.

Having won the first two ODIs by 24 runs and then four wickets, England reached 201-5 at the Oval and needed only 41 more runs to win the series with two games to spare.

But they lost their last five wickets for 17 runs, Strauss putting the defeat down to the "excellent reverse-swing bowling" of Umar Gul (6-42).

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt had his own theory, that England threw the game.

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."

Dangerous

The England team therefore decided not to play in the fourth ODI at Lord's the next day - but then came a crucial intervention from ECB chairman Giles Clarke.

"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 lost the Lord's clash by 38 runs, but they won the series 3-2 thanks to Eoin Morgan's unbeaten century in the decider in Southampton.