Belfast Telegraph

Pakistan start Haider probe

Zulqarnain Haider's international future was plunged into further doubt last night after the Pakistan Cricket Board suspended his central contract.

The PCB took the step in response to the wicketkeeper's decision to leave the series against South Africa early, claiming it represented a violation of his contract.

Haider left the team's hotel in the hours before the fifth one-day international in Dubai on Monday, and flew to London.

The 24-year-old has since claimed he abandoned the team because he received death threats after hitting the winning runs in the fourth ODI on Friday.

Haider's arrival in London has preceded a number of conflicting reports about his future, with Pakistani network Geo News claiming yesterday he had retired from international cricket amid fears for his and his family's safety in Pakistan. Reports yesterday also suggested he has claimed asylum in the United Kingdom, although the High Commission for Pakistan in the UK said they had not been notified of any such application.

What is certain is that the PCB have opened an investigation into the matter and, after revealing they have been unable to get in contact with their wicketkeeper, confirmed they had suspended Haider's contract until further notice.

“(The) PCB has suspended the contract of Mr Zulqarnain Haider for violating terms and conditions,” the statement read.

“A fact-finding committee has been formulated to establish the facts surrounding the incident of Mr Haider's disappearance from the team hotel.

“The committee includes Mr Subhan Ahmad (PCB), Mr Intikhab Alam (Pakistan team manager) and Major Khawaja Najam (Pakistan team security manager). The committee will meet soon.

“PCB is trying to get in touch with Mr Haider but the attempts to contact him have so far remained unsuccessful.

“No further comments on this matter will be made until further information is available to PCB.”

The International Cricket Council confirmed that Haider had made contact with their anti-corruption unit.

That contact came after the ICC responded to the matter for the first time in a statement when they offered their support to the PCB investigation as well as Haider.

The ICC would not comment on the details of their confidential discussions with Haider, which are ongoing, but there is some speculation he will act as a whistle-blower to the alleged spot-fixing that has overshadowed Pakistan cricket over the past three months.

Upon his arrival at Heathrow on Monday, Haider said: “I received death threats to lose the fourth and fifth one-day internationals against South Africa, but I could not compromise the dignity of my country. I would rather flee away than sell out the dignity and respect of my motherland.”

Belfast Telegraph

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