London: Zulqarnain Haider fleeing to England after deserting his team midway through a series has left the ICC “disturbed” as the governing body feels the Pakistan wicketkeeper has been targetted by “criminals behind betting operations”, media reports said here on Tuesday.
According to `The Daily Telegraph`, “the International Cricket Council was taking the threat against Zulqarnain seriously, and there was dismay that a player considered to be above suspicion in the spot-fixing controversy that marred this summer`s tour of England appeared to have been targeted.”
“We are really concerned and disturbed by what has happened, he is clearly frightened or seriously worried and there is no suggestion that he is guilty of anything except producing a brilliant performance to help his team win a game,” the newspaper quoted an ICC source as saying.
“The really disgusting thing is that criminals behind betting operations have targeted players` families in the past. The PCB is moving heaven and earth to try and find him and help him and his family,” the source added.
The daily stated that the ICC considers Zulqarnain to be “absolutely straight.”
Zulqarnain created a flutter yesterday by mysteriously disappearing from his hotel in Dubai on the day of the fifth and final one-dayer against South Africa yesterday which Pakistan lost to go down 2-3 in the series.
He was seen at the Heathrow airport later last night and is reportedly seeking political asylum.