ICC offers support and assistance to Zulqarnain

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010, 15:14 PM IST

Singapore: The International Cricket Council said on Wednesday it will assist the Pakistan Cricket Board in its probe into wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider`s flight to Britain where he is seeking asylum.

The cricketer fled to London this week and said on Tuesday he was seeking asylum because he feared for his safety after being ordered to cooperate with match-fixers.

Zulqarnain, 24, also announced his international retirement after saying he was approached by a person who asked him to fix the fourth and fifth one-day internationals against South Africa.

The ICC offered Haider any help he needs.

"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," chief executive Haroon Lorgat said on the ICC`s website.

"We understand his plight if reports are indeed true, but we can only help if he is willing to engage with us."

Zulqarnain, who hit the winning runs in the fourth one-day match on Friday, left the Pakistan team hotel shortly before the fifth on Monday which was won by South Africa to clinch the series 3-2.

He landed in London hours after leaving Dubai and spent almost four hours locked in discussions with immigration authorities.

Speaking about his decision to leave, he said: "I was told to cooperate or I would face a lot of problems.

"This person approached me while I had gone out of the hotel for dinner. He told me cooperate with us and you can make a lot of money.

"He said, `If you don`t cooperate you will no longer be part of the team and we can make life very difficult for you`."

Zulqarnain was a member of the Pakistan squad whose tour of England this year degenerated into chaos when Test captain Salman Butt and opening bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were suspended following spot-fixing allegations.

A newspaper report said the trio had arranged for deliberate no-balls to be delivered in the fourth and final Test against England.

The International Cricket Council`s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit upheld the provisional suspensions on Butt and Amir after the pair appealed. Asif withdrew his appeal in order to give his lawyers more time to prepare their case.

Their fate will now be determined by an independent tribunal which will meet at a date yet to be set.

Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam said Zulqarnain`s sudden departure had been a surprise.

"He never spoke to me about any of this. I am not a magician to know what is going on in the mind and heart of a person," Intikhab said.

Bureau Report