Karachi: The bitterness caused by the Oval Test fiasco and the spot-fixing scandal notwithstanding, Pakistan's former Test captain Zaheer Abbas is hopeful that the upcoming series against England will be free of any controversy.
"This time I hope the situation will change and it will be a controversy-free series. Both teams should just focus on the cricket because it is a hyped up series and the cricket contests itself should be tough and close," he said.
Zaheer was the Pakistan team manager when the Oval Test controversy erupted in 2006 after umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised the Pakistan team for ball tampering.
The then Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to bring his team on the field after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test at the Oval leading to Pakistan forfeiting the match, the first ever such incident in cricket history.
"Later when the ICC held its inquiry it was proven our players were not guilty of ball tampering. The charges of ball tampering against us were dropped," he pointed out.
"Pakistan and England have a history of controversies and bad blood I just hope this time players and officials approach the series sensibly."
He said even the England team and media needed to realise that after the spot-fixing scandal that hit the series in England last year the guilty players had been punished.
"The guilty players have been punished and this chapter is now closed. I think the England players also need to realise this and play the series with an open mind."
The English media has been crying foul over the inclusion of pacer Wahab Riaz in the Pakistan team after suspicions surrounded his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal.
Zaheer said he would not pick any favourites for the coming series as both teams were strong and balanced.