Haider ready to play, PCB suspends his contract

Karachi/Dubai: Support shrunk for troubled Pakistan cricketer Zulqarnain Haider in his own nation as the PCB on Wednesday suspended his contract and the government refused to support his efforts of seeking asylum in the UK after sensationally deserting the team in Dubai.

The Pakistan Cricket Board also constituted a three-member committee to look into the incident of his fleeing from Dubai to London after claiming to have received death threats from match-fixers.

Haider mysteriously left for London hours before the fifth one-dayer against South Africa without informing either the Board or the team management.

He is now seeking asylum in United Kingdom, claiming that he received death threats during the series from match-fixers.

A senior board official said the stipend contract was suspended because Haider had violated the terms and conditions of his contract as a Pakistan player.

A PCB statement also said that the Board is trying to get in touch with Haider but attempts to contact him have so far remained unsuccessful.

The fact finding committee includes Subhan Ahmed, Team Manager Intikhab Alam and Team Security Manger Maj. Khawaja Najam. All three members are in Dubai as part of the current team management.

The Board official said the committee would meet soon and send a notice to Haider to report to them.

The government also took a hard stand against the stumper, who announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday barely three months after making his Test debut.

“The government will not support any move from Zulqarnain (Haider) to get asylum in the UK. We don’t support his actions and believe he should have come to us if he was under threat from anyone. He didn’t have confidence in the national team management or board (PCB),” Pakistan Sports Minister Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani told reporters.

If he is such a weak and scared person he should not have played cricket in the first place, particularly not for the national team. This is not way for a member of the national team to behave or for even a professional cricketer to behave,” Jakhrani said.

Jakhrani also said that the Sports Ministry had already written to the PCB, asking it for a complete report on the incident.

“We don’t want to interfere in the internal matters of the board but we certainly want to know why this has happened as it affects the image of the country,” he said.

“But no doubt this incident has disappointed us. Zulqarnain should have come to us for help. We will not support his move to get asylum in the UK,” the minister reiterated.

Meanwhile, International Cricket Council has offered to help the PCB in its investigation into the matter, besides advising the player to approach it.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the world body is in “regular touch” with the PCB.

“ICC on Wednesday confirmed that it is in regular communication with the Pakistan Cricket Board and has offered to support the PCB in its current investigations into the reasons behind wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider’s decision to leave the Pakistan team on the morning of the final ODI against South Africa in Dubai,” Lorgat said in a statement.

Lorgat also offered help Haider but said it could only be done if the player approaches the world body.

“Clearly this is in the first instance a team matter for Pakistan cricket but the ICC is willing to provide assistance to the PCB and the player,” Lorgat said.

“We understand his plight if reports are indeed true, but we can only help him if he is willing to engage with us. At this stage, the ICC does not intend to make any further comment,” he said in the statement.


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