Ethics and morality November 9, 2010

Zulqarnain Haider's troubled mind

A week that promised to deliver the right kind of headlines for Pakistan cricket has once more deepened everybody's sense of bewilderment

A week that promised to deliver the right kind of headlines for Pakistan cricket has once more deepened everybody's sense of bewilderment. Zulqarnain Haider's covert escape from the international squad and his arrival in England has quickly banished the euphoria of two nail-biting victories over South Africa.

What drove Zulqarnain to this extreme measure isn't entirely clear but he is certainly a troubled young man. Threats to Pakistan cricketers are not new, and at the very least Zulqarnain's act will help people outside Pakistan understand some of the pressures that he and his colleagues uniquely face. Pakistan cricketers, like other human beings, aren't born corrupt. They are products, even victims, of their peculiar environment.

Experienced voices in Pakistan are already condemning Zulqarnain's behaviour. He should have turned back to Pakistan and his cricket board in the first instance, they say. Perhaps so. But it is equally understandable that he might feel unable to trust the current malfunctioning cricket board, despite the ICC task force's rather hasty announcement of the PCB's wonderful progress in combating corruption. Naturally, he would feel safer in exposing his concerns in England than in Pakistan, or even Dubai.

Whistleblowers in any walk of life face being discredited. They are marginalised, lose their jobs, and may experience personal danger. They are quickly dismissed as attention seekers and scandalmongers. Zulqarnain might turn out to be either of these but for now he deserves understanding. It takes guts, extreme provocation, or both, to walk out on an international career, something you have worked all your life for and dreamed every night about.

Zulqarnain might not be the most talented player to represent Pakistan but he has shown plenty of guts and determination on the cricket field. He clearly wants to win. He puts his country first, he says. He has dedicated victories to Imran Khan's cancer appeal and Pakistan's flood victims. To me, this is the behaviour of a man whose heart is in the right place, only an extreme cynic would think otherwise.

Where Zulqarnain's mind is, however, is anybody's guess. But now that he has set off on this lonely road he needs to fully expose everything that has gone before, whatever the short-term cost to cricket and cricketers in Pakistan and elsewhere. Once we know the full extent of Zulqarnain’s trauma that will be the time to properly judge the man who wanted to be Pakistan's wicketkeeper.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on September 28, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    brinkka2011 says: Youre so right. Im there with you. Your blog is surely worth a read if anyone comes throughout it. Im lucky I did because now Ive acquired a whole new view of this. I didnt realise that this issue was so important and so universal. You absolutely put it in perspective for me.

  • testli5504537 on January 24, 2011, 18:01 GMT


  • testli5504537 on November 23, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    I was really amazed to know of Zul's disappearance and flight to UK.

    Agreed that he had a serious threat for himself and the family. Now that he is safe, where is his family ? And what about the threat to his folks..

    The whole episode is bizarre in nature as well as the argument. Without any specific evidence, the name of the people involved, or at least the phone number from which the calls were made, the story is not heading any where.

    Can't really figure out what Zul is contemplating, and whether he along with his family escapes to the greener grass of UK, Which seems like a motive with every passing day, Let's keep our fingers crossed and wait for the cat to come out of the bag.

    As far as the test series in the UAE is concerned, The Umpires need to get their eyes and ears checked, as in addition to the blunders they made, they gifted a 150 run stand in the first test, and now Extra 270 runs for the good of AB and south Africa.

    Kudos to the PCB, for not insisting on UDRS.

  • testli5504537 on November 15, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    I agree with the analysis here... corruption in Pakistan cricket is deep rooted like it is in the country. And what is coming out is just the tip of the iceberg..! ZH did what he deemed right and in the given circumstances what else he could do.... Let’s not forget when Yasser Hameed spoke out (privately), he and was labelled as 'stupid' and 'traitor'.... shame on us… do we have any morality or ethics...? One who speaks out is traitor and stupid and all those who know it and just keep quite are'wise' and 'patriots'....seriously?. The biggest sin of today is indifference and we all are 'sinners'. We as a nation are in constant denial and perhaps would remain this way...

  • testli5504537 on November 15, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Hey do you know that today is a historic day inj test match cricket. Five centuries are scored in a single day today.

  • testli5504537 on November 13, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    testing to see if this works

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    I clearly see a hate for India in the comments from Pakistani..About the Indian bookies...And on the other side Indians who have commented shown great respect for Pakistan Cricket and there players...But indian shown hate for PCB which looks fair...Looks like Pakistan in general have same kind of mentality to blame others which goes all the way to upper level...Guys grow up its global world..Every country have bad and good people..Please for the name of God stop fighthing and try to figure out whats going on with your cricket...Because currently I dont see anything wrong in Indian cricket..way BCCI downgraded Yuvi is example BCCI play fair game..

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    Zulqarnain has done what may other present and past players should have done.

    Being South African and being an avid Hansie supporter it pains to see how hard the PACB are trying to make it seem that he is at fault. In my book more than 60% of that side is corrupt and are actively involved in match fixing. It is also concerning why the PACB are so slow to uncover these things and dont seem to support the truth.

    Zulqarnain has spoken - he has spoken about death threats - funny hey that Bob Woolmer was murdered - linked to Pakistan cricket.

    Sorry but this is NOT cricket. Pakistan cricket needs to be taken off circuit for a while until the mess is cleared. We watched teh 1 day series and though, i wonder if this game is real or fixed? Its a complete joke.

    The PACB need to investigate its team - its so obvious that the players are involved in match fixing.

    Pakistan has disgraced itself once again.Lets not blame poverty for this - it is greed.

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2010, 5:11 GMT


    Must be reading much (translation perhaps in Hindi!) of Sherlock holmes stories

    Why dont you solve? I am anxious

  • testli5504537 on November 12, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    I agree with Mr. Kamran Abbasi's article. Mr. Zulqarnain Haider should speak out what is hidden inside him.

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