Karachi: It was `sheer stupidity` that forced Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider to abandon the team in Dubai, a senior teammate of the young player has said.
Speaking to The News on the condition of anonymity, the Pakistan team player compared Zulqarnain with Yasir Hameed- another national cricketer who was involved in a major controversy last summer- saying that both of them lacked the `brains required to play international cricket`.
"By the time this issue is resolved, people would be saying that Zulqarnain has committed an act of stupidity similar to what Yasir Hameed did a few months back," said the player.
"Both Zulqarnain and Yasir are similar characters. They lack the brains required to play international cricket," he added.
In September, Yasir Hameed had allegedly told a British tabloid that many of his teammates were involved in match-fixing. The Test batsman later denied making any such claim, but only after his interview had added fire to the spot-fixing scandal involving three leading Pakistan cricketers- Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
On the other hand, 24-year-old Zulqarnain fled to London on Monday morning just hours before Pakistan were scheduled to play their ODI series decider against South Africa in Dubai. The wicketkeeper later revealed that he had taken this extreme step after receiving death threats from match-fixers.
"If I or anybody else in the team will receive any threats, we will just go to the team management and tell them about it," said his teammate. "That`s what any reasonable person would do. But Zulqarnain acted in an insane manner by running away from the team."
There have been several conspiracy theories since Zulqarnain escaped from the team hotel and later surfaced in London, with some suggesting that the player did talk about the threats with some of his colleagues but decided to flee after failing to get any support from them.
"It`s ridiculous to suggest anything like it," said the senior player, adding, "I can say for sure that he didn`t tell anybody in the team about it. He didn`t even go to Abdul Razzaq with whom he has played at the club level in Lahore. Zulqarnain is quite close to Razzaq could have confided in him but he didn`t."
Recent reports have claimed that the team management had decided to drop Zulqarnain before the fifth One-day International, suggesting that the move could have prompted the player to flee from Dubai.
"It doesn`t make any sense," said the senior player. "I mean you cannot drop a player who has just won you a close match," he added, referring to Zulqarnain`s match-winning cameo- an unbeaten 19- in the fourth ODI against South Africa, that helped Pakistan to level the series 2-2.
"According to my information, Zulqarnain was very much a part of the playing eleven for the final match and was later replaced by Umar Akmal as the team`s wicketkeeper because of his own decision to run away," he added.