Karachi: The Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam has spoken about his immense disappointment about the embarrassment caused by controversial wicketkeeper-batsman Zulqarnain Haider, who vanished from the team hotel in Dubai to land in London for political asylum after allegedly receiving death threats.
In an interview, Intikhab said he was obviously disappointed that the player acted hastily without taking anyone into confidence.
“I am disappointed because we had given a two hour lecture to the players in urdu before leaving for UAE. We even explained the clauses of their contract to them and even in Dubai the ICC anti-corruption officer gave them a lecture on what players are supposed to do if someone approaches them or threatens them,” Intikhab said.
“I would have thought that Zulqarnain should have come to the team management, spoken about any threats he was getting and we would have sorted it out,” he added.
Intikhab also admitted that maybe the wicketkeeper who has now claimed political asylum in the United Kingdom and has spoken about serious threats posed to him by match-fixers had some mental issue.
“I am not an expert to say this but if I look at his behaviour in the wake of this incident, I feel he had some mental problem. Even the players feel the same way.”
“No doubt he is a clean and nice boy but maybe he was under some kind some other pressures,” Intikhab said.
The Pakistan manager also pointed out that Zulqarnain had got everyone confused with his regular change in statements.
“Some day he is saying something and then changes it the next hour. First he said, he had applied for political asylum. Now he says, he doesn’t want asylum and is ready to play for Pakistan again.”
“Now he says he made a mistake in not talking to the team management, he appears confused to me,” Alam said.
“It would have been better if Zulqarnain had thought about the consequences before he took the step that he did.”
“What he did is a clear violation of the contract of a player and its terms and conditions. I have been trying to get in touch with him as did the cricket board officials but he has switched off his cell phone.
“Intikhab said that he was not a psychic and could never have guessed that Zulqarnain would be planning to flee the hotel before such an important match. You have to trust the players and we trust the players, I am not a psychic to know what is he planning to do.”
“What he did is sad and bad for Pakistan cricket. The Pakistan manager said the board had been making every effort to keep the players educated about anti-corruption measures. So, I don’t know how Zulqarnain decided to not come to us if they were any threats to him,” the manager added.
Intikhab said the incident had naturally upset the team but he was now making them focus back again on the series.
“I have told the players that in life such things happen and a strong person overcomes these things. I have told them to just concentrate on playing cricket and trying to do what we came here to do that is to win the series against South Africa,” he added.