Confusion surrounds Zulqarnain`s return to Pakistan

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2011, 21:43 PM IST

Karachi: Confusion surrounds the planned return of runaway wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider from London to his country after the player claimed that he has got fresh death threats from an unknown caller.

Zulqarnain, who had earlier announced that he would return to Islamabad on April 24, yesterday told some television channels that he had put off his return plans after getting fresh death threats, which he had reported to the police in London.

Pakistan`s interior minister, Rehman Malik told reporters that he had spoken to Zulqarnain today.

"I have spoken to him about these threats and we have even managed to trace the numbers from where the calls were made," Malik said.

"I have reassured him that he and his family would be provided foolproof security in Pakistan," he said.

But there was no direct word from Zulqarnain on his plans.

The wicketkeeper stunned the cricket world last November when he fled the team hotel in Dubai during a one-day series against South Africa.

On reaching London where he applied for asylum, Zulqarnain claimed that he fled the team hotel because of threats from an unknown person to cooperate in fixing the matches or face dire consequences.

But after a recent meeting with Malik in London, Zulqarnain had announced that he was withdrawing his asylum application with the British home office, and would return home to be with his family as he wanted to resume playing cricket.

Sources in the cricket board said they were totally unaware of what the keeper planned.

"We don`t know anything as he is not in touch with us. We don`t know if he is planning to return or not. But the feeling is that Zulqarnain himself is not sure of what he is going to do next," a source said.

The 24-year old keeper faces a grilling from the cricket board on his return as the PCB says he violated the players code of conduct by leaving the team without informing the team management.

The board has also said that Zulqarnain had not responded to a showcause notice issued to him a few months back to explain his conduct.

PTI