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Monday, April 11, 2011


Pakistan’s runaway wicketkeeper, Zulqarnain Haider, has once again expressed desire to return to Pakistan and resume his cricketing career.
In the latest development regarding the former cricketer, who is seeking asylum in the United Kingdom, it has been learnt that he met Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik in London.
According to details, Zulqarnain has requested the minister to provide him security once he returns back to Pakistan. The 24 year old Haider informed the minister that he wanted to resume playing cricket for his country but that would not be possible if he was not provided security by the government of Pakistan as he believes that there exist serious threats to his life by the people, who want to hurt him for not cooperating with them.
No official response has been recorded by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) or the Government of Pakistan regarding Haider’s request.
Two months back, Haider’s family was taken off a London bound flight by Pakistani security, as they were requested by the PCB not to let Haider’s family leave the country. However, later their passports were handed back to them.
Last year, Haider toured with the national team in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a series against South Africa as a replacement for regular wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal.
However, he abandoned his team after the fourth One Day International (ODI) and fled to England without informing anyone. He later revealed upon reaching England, that he had been receiving life threats from an unknown individual, who he believed was a bookmaker.
According to the runaway wicketkeeper the bookie wanted him to lose the fourth and fifth ODI against the Proteas but Haider refused and instead fled to another country.
This caused an international embarrassment for Pakistan and the PCB because the country was already entangled in a spot-fixing fiasco and another controversy was the last thing the country wanted at that time.
After his desertion, Haider announced retirement from international cricket and pledged to live a peaceful life in the UK. But later he announced that he would be disclosing the names of the people in the PCB having links with match-fixers.
However, after posting this statement on his facebook page, he never mentioned the names of the culprits. Later he clarified that as long as his family was living in Pakistan, he was not in a position to unmask the black sheep within Pakistani cricket.
His family also complained of receiving threatening calls from an unknown number. The family requested the government to provide them security.
The PCB formulated a committee to look into the Haider saga, which concluded that the player carried a complicated personality and was easily made to believe things.
According to interviews with other teammates, who were close to him, it was revealed that the player was looking to settle in UK when he was with the team during Pakistan’s tour of England.
Haider then threatened to sue the PCB for leaking a false report regarding his personality. However, he did not start a legal battle with the country’s cricket board.
It is not clear what made him change his mind now, but it will be difficult for him to make a comeback in the national side after he accused many fellow players of being involved in match/spot-fixing. 
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