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Broad calling for full focus as disgraced Amir returns

By Stephen Brenkley

Published 12/07/2016

In the driving seat: Stuart Broad (centre) and England team-mates James Anderson (left), and Joe Root visit the Red Bull Racing garage before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
In the driving seat: Stuart Broad (centre) and England team-mates James Anderson (left), and Joe Root visit the Red Bull Racing garage before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Stuart Broad wants England to move on from the Mohammad Amir spot-fixing scandal of 2010 for fear that too much talk of that ugly episode and not enough of the task in hand could be their undoing.

England go into the four-Test series, which starts at Lord's on Thursday, seeking to beat Pakistan to complete the full house of series trophies, with this week's opposition the only one that is missing from the trophy cabinet.

But all the talk is of the return of Amir to the scene of his crime six years ago when he, his fellow seamer Mohammad Asif and the then Pakistan captain Salman Butt contrived to dupe the paying public as Amir bowled no balls for cash.

From the team in 2010 only Broad, captain Alastair Cook and Steven Finn, if selected, will play this week in the first Investec Test, and England's senior seamer in the absence of the injured Jimmy Anderson wants England to put that saga to bed.

"What will help the team move on is that there is only me, Cooky and Finny who played in that Test... it is a very new team," Broad said.

"It is a huge story, back for his first Test at Lord's since the controversy six years ago. It's a massive story.

"But as a team, it is a dangerous thing to get waylaid by that - because we could find ourselves in a lot of trouble."

Left-arm quick bowler Amir was in fine form in Pakistan's warm-up match against Somerset at Taunton, taking four wickets. One of them was an absolute peach that swung back into batsman Peter Trego and bowled him through the gate. "Having seen the way Amir has bowled at Taunton, we need to get in the right frame of mind," Broad added.

"We know he can do us some damage. Let's start looking at him as a cricketer and a bowler and how we can negate that."

Broad's only Test century came in the match that Amir, now 24, and co sullied - sadly placing an asterisk by his 169 and his triple-century partnership with Jonathan Trott. Amir took 6 for 84 in that match, while Graeme Swann took five wickets. England won by an innings, but they are footnotes to the spot-fixing crisis.

"Swanny got a five-for that I don't think anyone can remember now," Broad said.

"That was the sad thing for me, that those achievements were tainted."

Amir has now served time and his ban and this week will be his first Test back. Broad hopes England will not be reminded of Amir's indiscretions any more.

Sadly, they were so explosive for the entire sport they will be mentioned at every turn between now and Thursday - and beyond.

Belfast Telegraph

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