ODI series 'devalued', says England coach Andy Flower
Strauss urges caution over allegations
England coach Andy Flower believes the one-day international series against Pakistan has been "devalued" by the continuing spot-fixing allegations.
The series will continue despite claims of spot-fixing in Friday's one-dayer game at The Oval, following the ongoing probe into events in the fourth Test.
"From a selfish perspective, it's really annoying," said Flower.
"It devalues our Test series and it's also devaluing this one-day series - it's very sad for cricket."
Flowers comments came after the England and Wales Cricket Board had requested details from the International Cricket Council to conclude whether the evidence was sufficiently specific to justify calling off the remainder of the series, with two matches still left to play.
Those fixtures were in serious doubt for several hours but, after the ECB convened a meeting of its own to discuss the matter in light of the information supplied by the ICC, it concluded the series should go ahead as scheduled - at Lord's on Monday, and the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.
Crucially, the ECB were assured no England player was linked to allegations that "a certain scoring pattern" in Pakistan's innings was already known to bookmakers before it became reality.
"It supplants the story of the game with the controversy of alleged cheating, and the story should be about the cricket and competition between two teams representing their country," added Flower.
"Probably naively, I didn't even contemplate that anything would be going on yesterday. We were concentrating on doing our job as well as we can, so that didn't enter my mind.
"I suppose we should be somewhat inured to such shocks - but it was a surprise.
"There is only one way that we should be approaching it, and that is focusing on doing our job as well as we can - because there is little good to be gained from anything else," said the coach.
"We've discussed it as a team. There are all sorts of distractions that are thrown your way when you play - and for us, the healthiest place to be is viewing it as a distraction that should not detract from our focus."
Flower confirmed, nonetheless, that the doubts which have overshadowed the series inevitably take their toll on team relations.
"I don't really want to go into detail. But, of course, things like this will affect the relationship between the sides," he conceded.
"We want to go to Lord's and win the game so that we win the series. That is as simple as we'll keep it."
In a statement, the Pakistan Cricket Board expressed regret at the way the allegations had been handled and urged the ICC to show more confidence in its members.
The PCB further condemned the sensationalizing of the allegations which it accepts are harming cricket in general and Pakistan in particular.
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