The increasingly bizarre case of Zulqarnain Haider took a series of contradictory twists yesterday with the Pakistan wicketkeeper first announcing that he had quit the game before later saying he had “no issues” over playing for his country again.
He also denied that he was seeking asylum in the UK, although he said that he and his family did receive “death threats” over demands that he help fix the result of two one-day internationals against South Africa this week.
But whatever the future holds for Haider — and it would seem highly unlikely that he could return to the game in the near future — hopes among cricket's authorities that Pakistan were beginning to get to grips with the corruption problems that have threatened to engulf the side have been shattered by his claims that he was approached to fix the two games in Dubai. His brother told Bloomberg that the wicketkeeper felt “pressure” from within the squad.
Haider is currently staying in a hotel near Heathrow having spent four hours being questioned by immigration officials after his arrival from the Middle East on Monday.
Last month the ICC had issued the PCB with an ultimatum that it must clean-up its act or face the possibility of sanctions. The PCB has revised its code of conduct for players — Haider was one of three fined for a minor curfew infraction this weekend — with an emphasis on anti-corruption. It led Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, to say he was “impressed” with the progress being made.
Haider was reported yesterday to have said that he has spoken to members of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, but that was contradicted by Lorgat last night as the ICC released a statement offering their support to the PCB's investigation into Haider's allegations.
He said: “We understand his plight if reports are indeed true, but we can only help if he is willing to engage with us.”
Yesterday, while his wife and father appeared on TV pleading for him to come home, Haider, 24, added further detail to his initial claims made on Monday. “I was approached by one person who asked me to fix the fourth and fifth match and there would be problem for me if I did not do it,” Haider said.