Zulqarnain Haider apologises to PCB

Lahore: Pakistan on Friday fined runaway wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider $5,800 and put him on a year`s probation for abandoning the team in Dubai over alleged death threats.

The 25-year-old created a stir in Pakistan cricket by fleeing the team hotel and flying to London last November, saying he had received death threats from unknown people to fix a one-day match in the series against South Africa.

He applied for political asylum in Britain and announced his retirement from international cricket. But after getting safety assurances from the Pakistani government, Haider returned home in April and reneged on his retirement.

On Friday, he appeared before a three-member disciplinary committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

"Haider accepted and apologised for his mistake in leaving the team and after his apology the committee fined him 500,000 rupees ($5,800) and he will remain under observation for one year," said Sultan Rana, the committee head.

On Thursday, the PCB fined former captain Shahid Afridi 4.5 million rupees ($53,000) over a breach of contract by announcing his retirement from international cricket and levelling allegations against the PCB.

Like Afridi, Haider acknowledged that he had erred.

"I accept I made a mistake," Haider told reporters after the verdict. "But I did what I thought to be correct at that time. With the passage of time I realised my mistake and will not do the same thing again."

Haider hoped to stage a comeback.

"It is up to the PCB and the selection committee to select me, but I will do my best to regain my place in the team," said Haider, who made his Test debut on last year`s tour of England, which was marred by a spot-fixing scandal.

The PCB said in a statement that Haider had sought a light punishment.

"Haider had requested that minimum punishment be awarded to him on compassionate grounds keeping in view the ailment of his father (who is suffering from cancer)," the PCB said in a statement.

"Haider also admitted he has no proof of any wrongdoing against any player or official of the PCB and withdrew all the allegations (of fixing)," the statement added.

Haider had threatened to name a number of players involved in match-fixing on his page on the social networking website Facebook.

Bureau Report

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