Osman Samiuddin
Sportswriter at the National

The curious case of Zulqarnain Haider

There's plenty in Haider's story that does not compute, but equally there is the fact that he wouldn't have given up his career if his claims weren't serious

Osman Samiuddin

November 16, 2010

Comments: 58 | Text size: A | A

Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider held a press conference at a restaurant in Southall to explain his disappearance from the team, November 10, 2010
Haider: for now merely an asylum seeker, not a whistleblower © Associated Press
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A confession: over a week on, little of the curious case of Zulqarnain Haider makes sense to me. Certainly nothing in it makes the kind of sense that much of the British press has made of it. In that simplified, romanticised narrative he is already the sole knight raging against the darkness that engulfs all of Pakistan. It's no fun - and probably not very healthy - to be the cynic, but with more questions than answers at this stage, I cannot buy into this so readily.

Is he really cricket's latest whistleblower? As I last understood the job description, whistleblowers reveal the rottenness of an entity they are a part of, usually at great cost to themselves. Rashid Latif outed several people in his own side in the mid-90s, including the captain. He was a whistleblower.

So far Zulqarnain has outed an Asian man who speaks a little Urdu. To the ACSU: good luck finding him in Dubai, short of neither Asians nor Urdu-speakers. ESPNcricinfo understands the ACSU has not been told a great deal more so far than what Haider has publicly said. This is not whistleblowing yet; this is finding an incredibly convoluted way of reporting an approach by a suspect personality.

The other revelation is concerning a domestic 50-over game from March 2009, and it isn't much of a revelation. Haider was dumped as captain of Lahore Eagles ahead of the game, against National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), because, he says, he refused to pick players imposed upon him. The scorecard has a bizarre, men-against-children look to it. Two players who played for the Eagles hadn't played before and have not played since; one of them conceded 78 runs in three overs. As part of the narrative, this game is thus fixed, Haider faced threats then as he did now and so domestic cricket in Pakistan is crooked; moreover an NBP side with Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Kamran Akmal is a fine bit of clinching evidence.

Why let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, eh? One of the players selected was no cricketer but no fixer either; his father is a local Lahore administrator who desperately wanted his son to play a representative game. It is the kind of forced selection that the subcontinent's domestic- and junior-level cricket is littered with. It is a problem, but of a different type entirely.

The Eagles, incidentally, are the poor cousins of Lahore, the second-string team in which play the second-string talent of the city. They had lost three games fairly convincingly before this one. Above all, the match wasn't even televised, and TV we know, is the oxygen of bookie-dom.

With these kinds of exposés Haider is simply an asylum-seeker, not a whistleblower.

And much else besides should be questioned. Why did he leave updates on Facebook for all to see? And go to a TV reporter first instead of approaching the PCB or the ACSU? That, I find difficult to dispute, says more about Haider than it does about either the PCB or ACSU. The PCB is inept, incompetent, disgraceful, but to assume they may be in cahoots with the underworld is still a considerable leap. And Tim May's argument that the ACSU cannot be trusted to keep secrets is irrelevant here at best. The one thing that is blindingly clear is that Haider is not a man looking for anonymity.

 
 
To swat the story away, as some have, on the basis that Haider is no player of significance is to be blind. He was the wicketkeeper, a position Pakistan should know only too well, is uniquely capable of affecting the course of entire matches
 

Nor did he approach anyone in the team. It's been easy to forget over the last few months that there remain characters in and around Pakistan cricket untainted by such muck; could not even one, such as Younis Khan, or Abdul Razzaq be spoken to in confidence? Haider says he wanted to protect the team by not telling them. And telling the rest of the world instead protects his teammates how?

Why wait four days and play one game before leaving? Why go to the UK and leave your family in the hands of Lahore police, which as every citizen of that beautiful city knows is in no hands at all? These questions are not to dismiss him or his deeds. These are logical questions that must be asked of a man who has taken a grave step.

Indeed, there is no need to be as dismissive and vindictive as some of the reactions from the rumpus that passes for a cricket fraternity here.

The approach itself is as believable as not. Who would still approach a side under such scrutiny? Or is it simply that the hooks are in that deep? But to swat it away as some have on the basis that Haider is no player of significance is to be blind. He was the wicketkeeper, a position Pakistan should know only too well, is uniquely capable of affecting the course of entire matches. Approaching a wicketkeeper, in fact, makes immense sense. Calling into question his mental health, as the team manager has done, is in outright bad taste.

What little I saw of Haider as a cricketer I liked. He isn't a great wicketkeeper - and the bar has been set remarkably low by Kamran Akmal - but clearly there is something in him that functional teams should like; a little fight, a little heart, something that equates to more than just the parts.

But a significant part of me looks at how energetically he hunts for media attention (and how much of it he has already attracted in a short career) and then to this episode, and does so with real worry and suspicion that none of it may be of any real consequence. Another smaller part can't help but worry why else someone would give up a budding career as an international cricketer if not because of something very serious and disturbing, something of immeasurably greater consequence.

The lack of any real resolution between those parts is the real frustration of the last week.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by   on (November 19, 2010, 1:21 GMT)

Why not believe him? He's got as much to lose as much to gain. He could make money by not rocking the status quo and playing for Pakistan, get a lucrative club or county contract in England in the summer, as have his team mates, and allow the PCB to weather the storm and turn on their accusers, allowing it to blow over and carry on as normal, which always happens. Or maybe just, he will become a pivotal figure, like D'Oliveira, Olonga or in a differnet sport Ali, who takes a stand, and is looked upon kindly by history. How many have not questioned the perceived wisdom at the time and are now considered cowardly or foolish. Maybe he is just in it for his own ends, but unlike those who have taken bribes, he's going about it in a less furtive and damaging manner. Any financial gain he makes if any will at least be transparent and legal.

Posted by   on (November 18, 2010, 22:22 GMT)

there is a lot behind the noble game of "cricket"......and someone could not cash it so Haider gets the blame for it .... why does the world hate Pakistan, whats so bad in it . Most of the Brits are arrogant no one cares , I am Indian most of us hate each other just because we belong one state, SA "used to be "quite racist .............. everybody has problems it just depends how you present .the ICC has a role in Pakistans decline without doubt . I can say one thing Pakistan needs IMRAN KHAN

Posted by shot274 on (November 18, 2010, 22:14 GMT)

Osman Samiuddin must be the only person in the world who doubts the possibility of a bookie approaching a Pakistan cricketer! I agree with gmathew. We are shooting the messenger but what is even more disturbing is that we are in the process ignoring the message as well. Cricket in Pakistan has to be purged from this evil of corruption. Anyone who puts their hand up and speaks against it needs to be respected and admired. Whatever Haiders story , his heart and soul is in the right place.Not to forget that if Kamran and Adnan Akmal were his main rivals , he would have been guaranteed a fairly long test career-so quite a sacrifice to simply spin a yarn!

Posted by njr1330 on (November 18, 2010, 20:00 GMT)

I am completely mystified as to what is going on in the Haider affair, but I offer the following comments:

1. In England, when the Pakistan batting was crumbling in all directions, Haider made a fighting 80-odd; part of the innings played with a broken finger. This did not strike me as the actions of a coward.

2. Kamran Akmal would not be selected in my club's 3rd team as a specialist wicketkeeper.

Whether these two things are in any way related, I have no idea.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2010, 22:28 GMT)

This was a very well written article that really poses a lot of relevant questions in this affair. It has to be said though that Haider is not doing this for no reason, and it seems unfair to impute some sort of fame seeking quality to it all. It has to be remembered after all that he is doing this under threats to himself and his family. People under that sort of pressure will act irrationally. I think this explanation goes some way to answering many of the questions posed.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2010, 18:19 GMT)

To add to the 'loopholes' like why did Zulqarnain leave his message on Facebook, or why would he break the news first to a news reporter, its also valid to ask why he would give interviews to only one Pakistani media group? No other Pakistani or British news channel or newspaper was able to get hold of him until three days after reaching UK while Geo aired three separate interviews in one day and even showed him having food in his hotel room!

Posted by fk2000 on (November 17, 2010, 17:35 GMT)

I think the article is apporpriate, to the people saying it is a Pakistani writer ignoring the issue and defending the PCB, I think you are not reading the same article as I just read. Osman has simply stated there are a lot of unusual parts to this story that don't quite add up but is still giving the benefit of doubt to Haider. Haider seems like an honest player to me and as a supporter of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket, I hope he does have information to get rid of all of the corrupt players and administrators. Osman is simply stating facts, that up until now, no information, no names etc have been given to the police, ICC, Pakistani media, foreign media etc. He will have to divulge any specific information during his asylum hearing so we will have to wait for that. Just like Osman, I also give him the benefit of doubt, but anyone would admit that the story is highly unusual. I think that there are at least a couple corrupt players still in the team and I want them to be exposed.

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (November 17, 2010, 16:51 GMT)

One reason for his irrational sounding actions occurs to me. He is a scared young man who brooded, dithered than panicked. His actions are not rational because we often aren't when we are frightened and out of our depth. This might not be true, Osman might be nearer the truth, but it is a believable one.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (November 17, 2010, 12:07 GMT)

'dmqi' has got it absolutely spot on. And like he has said, Kamran Akmal has been cleared to play in the World Cup I learnt through Cricinfo. The manner of Haider taking to his heels in the midst of a series for the reason he has stated is definitely for public consumption. He must be a Punjabi not unlike Miandad.We all know that they are fighters. These people do not just run away. They stand up and fight even if there is nothing to fight about. Even if the threat came from a quarter closer to the mafia. I personally think that the PCB's hands are not clean in this murky episode. I cannot believe that Haider is just willing to give up his only source of livelihood and the prospect of National recognition only because a dark shadow in an alley ran after him. It is simply not true. The thing that emerges is that the Akmals are very influential in Pakistan. Considering how much Pakistan has been affected in society, it could be anything.

Posted by dmqi on (November 17, 2010, 10:32 GMT)

Kamran Akmal's brother, an unknown wicketkeeper with poor records has been brought back within hours of Zulkarnain's run away. That tells the whole story to me. PCB/selection committee could not find Kamran's replacement in half dozen year and now found his brother in hours. What is the chance that Zulkarnain has been threatened to run away to have Adnan Akmal in the team by the same group who did not find Kamran's replacement in years? Now wait for Kamran's inclusion in the team as a batsman so you will have the great Hanif Mohammad's family's example of 3 brother's playing at the same match. Anything is possible in Pak cricket.

Posted by Rahulbose on (November 17, 2010, 8:32 GMT)

Sometimes supporters and fans of a system cannot see how rotten it is. They then lash out at others who point out the obvious and resoort to illogical defences to support their dillusional dreams.

Time to wake up and smell the S@#t for Pakistan fans and reporters.

Posted by gmathew on (November 17, 2010, 8:17 GMT)

Osman I read all your articles even though I am an Indian fan because I find you balanced and are not afraid to face the truth even if it means earning the wrath of blind/fanataci team followers. But here mate-you missed the point completely. A young boy firghtened of what he sees/experiences runs from a team for help. Listen to him. Dont shoot the messenger. Something is rotten in the state of Pakistan cricket and all these small incidents should be seen as a pointer to a solution. Please dont castigate a young man who dispalyed extreme courage to speak up.

Posted by Vnott on (November 17, 2010, 7:36 GMT)

Haider was promising and looked a terrific prospect both in terms of his attitude to batting and keeping. Remember the second innings in his debut test. So it is a tragedy that he has taken flight and that too in such dramatic circumstances. To throw away a lucrative career of a cricketer and that too a keeper/batsman tells you there are serious issues even today. A UK amnesty is not so attractive for someone to throw away such a lucrative proposition not in todays world for sure. Also Kamran Akmal is a very curious case. His presence is almost a guarantee to turn matches the way you want. He is a good bat if he wants to be. He can drop any catch anytime. He surely should be in the ICC scanner. How can a guy keep so badly. Even gully cricket keepers are much better....

Posted by ygkd on (November 17, 2010, 7:26 GMT)

When I see nepotism in Australia, I don't see one-off caps for the son/protege of someone who just happens to be an administrator or a coach. I see the sons' etc ongoing selections (and they always seem to happen over and over again) as the reason why the fathers etc fill the position they do. Pakistan is not the only cricketing country with corruption problems, but they may unfortunately be the first to drown in the mire and that would be a crying shame as they could have been the team that kept the game in the media spotlight for all the right reasons.

Posted by danney707 on (November 16, 2010, 23:12 GMT)

@danney707 sorry i made a couple mistakes in my previous comments and which changed the whole meaning of my statement what i really wanted to write is that haider is not great wicketkeep n so as kamran akmal .... but kamran can bat n he can bat really well

Posted by danney707 on (November 16, 2010, 22:46 GMT)

Haider's place in the side was under question ... if u look back a few days ago and u will see there were reports of using umar akmal as a wicket keeper to get more depth in the batting line ... he is a great keeper and so as kamran akmal .... but kamran cant bat .... and he cant bat really well .... Hairder does have this tendency of hunting the media attention ... anyways ... this seem like replay of what happened to yasir hameed ... the difference is that yasir hameed refused to become the so called whistleblower and haider took the front seat .... no wonder he got such a huge attention from british media.... i cant state anymore obvious ... because i fear that my comments will be rejected by cricinfo ... may be they'll do so even now

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 21:25 GMT)

The reporting is opinionated and wishful thinking. That is the bane of modern cricket writing. Gone are the days of robust cricket writers who had a powerful pen. Nowadays, the articles are rushed, half baked and without structured thought. As the writer laments here http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/11/oh-for-cardus-in-covers.html A great article on the status of cricket articles

Posted by destro262 on (November 16, 2010, 19:57 GMT)

Hmmmm ..Osman Samiuddin.. U r writings are typical of any Pakistani writer who is trying to reduce the embarrassment by going into some form of denial. You cant expect Haider to go to anyone in the team and talk about it since there are questionable players in the team itself. He cant go to the PCB or ACSU since they still have people in charge who have actually ruined Pakistan cricket. To suggest sending him to them, would be almost like asking him stick his head in a crocodile's mouth. I would be genuinely surprised if you were honest about what you wrote and still couldnt see this. What do you think would have happened if he approached these guys beforehand? I will tell you what would have happened. They would have ensured his complete cut off from media and may be would not have given his passport to begin with. With Pakistani political parties directly involved with cricket matters I can see how scared he would have been.

Posted by Da_Punjabi on (November 16, 2010, 16:08 GMT)

Adnan Akmal, the next great, from Pakistan's feudalistic society, averages 20 runs a game, not in ODIs, but also, in tests...How the hell did he even capture the imagination of Pakistan's feudalistic selectors is beyond my belief.

Posted by Biggus on (November 16, 2010, 16:03 GMT)

@Amansoor-"Proving Haider's story wrong will not make PCB and Ex Cricketers clean." Bingo! You hit the nail on the head there mate. Whatever the truth of the Haider incident is, it does not change the fact that SOMETHING crooked is definitely going on in Pakistan cricket. It is too unbelievable to suggest that these are all isolated incidents by rogue cricketers acting on their own. For the PCB to imagine that discrediting Haider will make this issue go away is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Unless I'm very much mistaken I sense that the international cricket community is rapidly losing patience with the PCB's 'smokesceen' approach to dealing with these matters, and the time must be fast approaching when the rest of the cricket world will say, "Enough! There's no point in playing these guys any more!" Are the PCB crooked or deaf? If they don't act to cut this cancer out the rest of the cricketing world will turn their back on Pakistan, and that would be a great shame

Posted by Amansoor on (November 16, 2010, 14:50 GMT)

Mr. Samiuddin, I was a bit disappointed in the article. Your reference regarding the Match with NBP is "partial" information. Just imagine: NBP team with Salman Butt, Amir and Kamran Akmal needed to win "convincingly", and they did!!!!!! I am not in a position to defend or accuse Zulqarnain Haider as all the facts are not on the table, yet. They may never come out, either. I am really surprised the way PCB, media and players (those involved in match fixing in the past, eg Waseem Akram) are accusing him. Proving Haider's story wrong will not make PCB and Ex Cricketers clean. ANYONE WHO TRIED TO BRING OUT 'FIXING' IN PAK CRICKET, DISAPPEARED. eg RASHID , BASIT, QASIM OMAR etc. Can someone explain why Kamran Akmal stayed in the team for that long??? Why characters like Yawar Saeed, Rana brothers, Akmal Brothers etc are sticking with PCB forever, like leaches?

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 14:22 GMT)

Well written Osman. Despite being a critic of how the affairs of cricket are being handled in Pakistan, I don't see an iota of logic in Mr. Hiader's action. Don't forget. if he contributed in wining the fourth match, he also contributed in losing the third one. Should we say that in that match he got the right price to losse the wicket and not the right price in fourth match. The fact is that he knew he is not going be in the team for a very long time because of his mediocre performance. His accusations dont make no sense at all

Posted by zagman on (November 16, 2010, 14:06 GMT)

This article is not a good one. It's more personal than neutral. Feels like a an article from PCB office. Agreed with Nick_Pats.

Posted by Tiptop32 on (November 16, 2010, 13:58 GMT)

Haider incident proved what will happen if you happened to be honest in Pak cricket. It is high time PCB takes concrete measures to curb these incidences from recurring. Just making life difficult for whistle blowers should be stopped. Players like Haider should be backed for being honest. The tainted players (however great they are) should be kept away from all national cricket duties. But I don't see these happen in Pak cricket. How much Pak fans defend Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt, Mohd Amir, etc says that there is no remedy for Pak cricket.

Posted by CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on (November 16, 2010, 13:30 GMT)

SO ONE SHOULD TRANSPIRE FROM THIS ARTICLE THAT IF BOOKIES CONTACT U AND FORCE U TO FIX A SPOT OR ELSE THEY WOULD MURDER UR FAMILY THEN U OUGHT TO RUN AWAY TO OTHER NATION THAN URS AND WORRY ABOUT UR FAMILY FROM THERE WELL ONLY GENIUS PRODIGIES CAN GET TO THAT LOGIC.THE OTHER THING REFLECTED IS THAT PLAYERS DONT HAVE ANY TRUST ON PCB OFFICIALS REGARDING THEIR PHYSICAL SAFETY WHICH IS IRONIC THAT ICC TASKFORCE MENTIONS THAT THEY PRAISE PCB EFFORTS TO ERADICATE CORRUPTION EVEN ALLAH CANT HELP PAK I AM AFRAID

Posted by robheinen on (November 16, 2010, 13:25 GMT)

That, or some arms stretch further then we can imagine. Which last by the way pretty much seems to sum up Haider's state of mind at the moment.

Posted by ARad on (November 16, 2010, 13:05 GMT)

I meant to say strong *arguments* in my earlier post. As any reasonable person knows, the actual evidence will be impossible to provide since cricketers don't wear recording devices and I don't imagine the bookies to be incredibly stupid enough to leave traces behind them. In spite of all the constant issues with Pakistani cricket, what strong and active measures has been taken by the Pakistani board to address the issues? (Some document that satisfies the inept ICC does not count as we all know there is a difference between words and actions.) Again, I am saddened that Mr. Samiuddin has not properly considered the strength of arguments from Haider's point but dwells on relatively insignificant points.

Posted by manihammad on (November 16, 2010, 12:56 GMT)

finally some sense being put in from someone.it has been like crazy all over the tv specially when we have crap like Geo to publicize it. good work

Posted by ARad on (November 16, 2010, 12:48 GMT)

Mr. Samiuddin disappoints us again. This is not an even keeled analytical article though it pays lip service to the other side. As others have noted, the strong evidence that supports Haider's case has not been well-presented while most of the column inches were spent on creating doubts but if anyone puts himself in Haider's shoes, (considering how Pakistani cricket's handling of affairs has been to make counter-accusations and trying to find some relatively minor issues in an argument to sow doubts on the whole affair, just like Mr. Samiuddin does here), his actions are not illogical and, more importantly, the least problematic among the choices that were available to him. Highly defensive articles like this would only help prolong the joke that Pakistani cricket has become in the minds of most non-partisan fans. This is a shame since, as a cricket fan, I want to enjoy the matches played by Pakistan but I simply can't take them seriously at this point.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

It's too easy to think about all these logics and what could and what should have been done, sitting in a A.C. room and writing an article. It's whole lot of different for a person who is afraid for his life. Everyone knows there is some problem in Pak Cricket, except cricket administrators and media over there. Ignoring a disease doesn't cure it. This article is highly ridiculous and is not worthy to be there on cricinfo (which I believe have set very high standard for themselves). Please don't twist the facts to divert the readers from the facts.

Posted by u_tandan on (November 16, 2010, 10:31 GMT)

Mr. Osman very conveniently forgot to mention one key factor in the Pakistani domestic match that Haider claims was "fixed". National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) had to beat Lahore Eagles by a comprehensively as they needed a significant run-rate to go into the Semis. Eventually, NBP made it through to the semis edging out Sui Gas (that ended up with same number of points as NBP) on the basis of "a higher run rate". Misguiding readers by only stating selective facts doesn't really help.

Posted by wanderer1 on (November 16, 2010, 9:54 GMT)

If every cricketer quit because of a supposed death threat or some threat from a bookie, there would literally be no cricketers left playing in the whole of the sub-continent. I'm sure they've all at some stage in their careers had run ins with unsavoury individuals. Nor is this particularly new to sport, South American football has been full of fixed matches, kidnappings of family members and ransoms and even shootings. And I don't see any South American footballers running away either. Haider's case is bizarre beyond belief. His personal choices baffling and his reasoning all mixed up. I don't disbelieve he was threatened, it happens, but what he chose to do about it is weird.

Posted by Biggus on (November 16, 2010, 7:15 GMT)

This is indeed a most curious incident. As an Aussie looking from the outside I must admit I understand nothing about how Pakistan cricket works, but I do think I understand a little of how several other countries in the cricketing world are feeling about these near constant controversies that seem to plague this side.I really like to see Pakistan play. They seem to be able to produce players of prodigious talent out of almost nowhere, and when they are on song they are the West Indies of Asia (in the sense of 80s and 90s Windies teams-not the current team). My fear in this respect is that if this situation persists Pakistan my be excluded from international competition, and that, in my opinion, would be a great pity. If the PCB thinks they can put on 'show' investigations that do nothing and guarantee 'business as usual' they are misreading international opinion. Please don't see this as an attack-I am genuinely concerned that Pakistan is on the verge of an international ban.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 7:05 GMT)

Even before the spot fixing scandal in england it was blatently obvious for everyone (any westerner, at the very least) to see that Ijaz Butt and the PCB were corrupt in some form or other. All cricket fans wanted to dismiss Kamran Akmals continued selection as nothing more than neopotism but even the most open minded observers can no longer believe there was nothing more sinister to it. The PCB reaction to the spot fixing and the Haider incidents just make it even more obvious that corruption is wide spread in the PCB. The PCB denied the allegations, they blamed the press of making the story up, they accused other nations of cheating, theyre defaming Haiders character, in fact, they've done everything but admit they may have a problem. While I can understand that Pakistani's may want to defend their national team (I presume you're Pakisani Osman?) an article like this from a Pakistani is laughable. Im sorry but it is.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 7:05 GMT)

A gud article!! ppl do wonder can anyone be that stupid to take safety in asylum in England keeping his dear ones in Lahore!! and yet speak that he will do something to save his family from London!!His family is in the middle of Pakistan, and easy picking for the "asian urdu speaking guy". None of the Pakistani players have seen or heard of this stranger!! And if you do look into the match between NBP and Eagles, ur so called captain of Eagles(Haider) also played and scored a single digit score. Just looking the whole scenario in another angle, I feel I can make a BOX OFFICE BLOCKBUSTER with this as a plot and the following as the climax!! And Haider is intelligent and craves for fame as well. This whole scenario is dramatized beautifully by PCB and Haider!! Hats off to them for this show!!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

he CERTAINLY did the rught thing... Even i wud have done the same!!! Which person on earth wud trust the Lahore police or stay in the city where he jst recieved threats from underworld bookies?

Posted by BullayBaaz on (November 16, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

I think you are being too hard on the guy. Irrational as it may seem to you.....it may simply be a scared young man.....scared for his life, his family, his colleagues, etc......Give him a chance. Who throws away a sporting career, well, atleast, willing to bet his.....unless there is something really afoot. Or unless the guy is a need of medical help - for mental disorder.

Posted by Nick_Pats on (November 16, 2010, 6:30 GMT)

Has anybody noticed how cleverly Wahab Riaz got run out in the 4th ODI...? Despite a clear NO call from Haider. And how beautifully he played before getting out... None of the Akmals can anymore be trusted (my personal opinion). Once you are in the hands of bookies there is no return. Its as simple as that. I disagree with Osman on "Who would still approach a side under such scrutiny?"

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 6:27 GMT)

he got paid $$$$ by the bookies to lose. instead he won the game for pak. so now they are after his ass so he ran away . simple.

Posted by Chestnutgrey on (November 16, 2010, 6:24 GMT)

My skeptical mind thinks of it this way. Did Zulqarnain take money to throw matches and then go back? By going public in this manner, he can turn the tables squarely back on the fixers. Or maybe he's really innocent and really had to give up his career in such a way. It's sad either way. Will the truth come out?

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 6:11 GMT)

One chunk that you miss, an uncertain future in Pakistan side, which he was aware of very well and which lead him to cash in on this expose, to strike it on right time and place!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

A lot of this case doesn't make sense based on the sketchy details released so far, I hope Haider has more to tell / has told more to the ACSU which we don't know about. As per him, the approach was made before the 4th ODI and yet he waited 4 days before fleeing. He was also at the crease when Pakistan got home, if he was genuinely scared he could have thrown his wicket away. But most importantly, he didn't tell his family of these threats till he landed in London, if someone had genuinely got a threat, their first impulse would be to immediately inform their family back home. Lastly, he has given no details of the meeting, most importantly where and how he met this supposed fixer. He said it was at dinner, I assume it was in a restaurant so there should be other witnesses who can confirm that there was someone else with him. All this makes for one weak story.

Posted by dmqi on (November 16, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

Pakistan cricket is gone for at least 10 years. Who is going to take care of crazy PCB, the administration, coaching stuff, the players, the bookies and above all Mr. 10%? There is none to fix this and wait for the demise. It is the creation of a very bad country whose population has been trained to be corrupt or accept corruption. No way out now. Feel sorry for the good people there. Mass revolution is the answer but there is no leader to lead.

Posted by mumbaiguy79 on (November 16, 2010, 5:57 GMT)

I firmly believe Haider is an egotist. He knew well in advance that the team management wanted Umar Akmal in the team as a wicket-keeper to have that extra batsman in the side. When Haider knew that he just opted for the "bookie approach me theory" to show how honest and a team man he is. I guess its good riddance for Pakistan.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (November 16, 2010, 5:55 GMT)

Haider, did the right thing. All these articles, only serve to protect the establishment and the perceived shame caused by Haider's actions. It's a fact that the underworld has touched Pak cricket. It's a fact, that the Pak establishment lives in denial about it. It's a fact, that the establishment in Pak cannot provide security to national and international players especially if the mafia/terrorists decide to target them. If a player who is concerned about his country, family and Pak cricket cannot live with himself and the available options when directly threatened, he would but flee the country under such circumstances spelt out above. The media, can indeed protect, as the establishment would now go out of its way to provide his family security. Going to the media, is the best protection he can give his family from bodily harm though they would still be persecuted by the establishment for the "betrayal" as a result of his expose seen as a dirty linen washing act.

Posted by reshgum on (November 16, 2010, 5:54 GMT)

His family was threatened and he runs to england and makes a public statement endangering their lifes. Either there is no threat or he wants his family killed. Again he said he has been visiting england for the past 10 years and has been studying their laws and knows they will help him... he apparently has been studying the immigration laws and planning for asylum. scoring 20 years in one game does not make you a hero or permamnent team member. even bowlers at no. 11 have done that before. Did a little bird whisper in his ear that adnan Akmal is knocking at the door....Before he was cut from the team he wanted to get immigration to UK....

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 5:41 GMT)

Person like Hairder is a complete shame for the mother land, I don't if He is better than Shahid Afridi, Abdulrazaq or Younis khan. He just made up the story to seek asylum in the UK just by making stories of match fixing. People like Haider is promoting more damage for the cricket than a real match fixing. I have lived in Pakistan for ages, what you watch in the media its not like that. There is enough security for all the Pakistan Politicians, even for Salim Malik, for the most corrupt peoples but for Haider no, because He is wanted by CIA, Once he become a man enough then he will know, and I am sure it would be so late if he calls himself even a Pakistani.

Posted by Meety on (November 16, 2010, 5:23 GMT)

Good points, I had been quite sympathetic to Haider when this initially blew up. Now I wonder whether it was an asylum seeking mission. @Jeptic - then after reading your comments perhaps I am supportive of Haider again!!! Nothing to do with Pakistan is straight forward!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 5:00 GMT)

There are several things that would cause us outside of Pakistan to believe Haider: 1) Butt and his outbursts make me think the PCB is a childish, manipulative body with no consideration for their players. His reaction after the SL players were injured shows he doesn;t care about anyone nor does he have the sense to hold his tongue. 2) the same players are repeatedly suspected of matchfixing/team disruption yet they get off with slaps on the wrist while others get hounded. 3) No IPL team wants pakistani players. This alone conveys the suspicion that matchfixing is a high possibility

Posted by Indus11 on (November 16, 2010, 4:54 GMT)

He is a lousy cricketer - lousy batsman and an even lousier wicket keeper - he knows full well that his career with Pak is extremely limited and his actions are therefore very calculated - he hopes for a career in the English counties that he thinks will - in the long run - prove more fruitful. Sorry if I sound cynical - but that is the way it is looking to me - I saw him keep - some one should tell him he needs to gather the ball and strike the stumps BEFORE shouting for an appeal. He actually does all of that in reverse - loosing precious seconds in the process. But I am ok with being proven wrong - I just think if there was a threat to him and his family - any normal person would have run towards his loved ones and not AWAY from them.

Posted by cricsavvy on (November 16, 2010, 4:40 GMT)

All he wants is a Permanent residency in the UK!!! Simple as that.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 4:36 GMT)

Points made in the beginning of your article reflect majorly what has been said by a few ex pakistani pro's like asif iqbal. However the crux of the argument you later refer to which has been ignored is that as the wicketkeeper he can influence matches in ways we should not have to describe having put up with akmal senior for the last few years - just ask danish kaneria.

There is a fine line between bravery and foolishness, and only history will advice us as to which camp will employ Haider. Nevertheless he has sacrificed a good career to expose what he feels are the malpractices in cricket and probably in sport in general. Had he been older and maybe had the ear of some of the senior professionals like razzaq and khan maybe the method of exposition would have been more sober. To my uninitiated eyes it just seems a young man from humble background panicked after the threats which led to his drastic actions. It says a lot for the incompetent PCB and ICC that he didnt approach them.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 4:28 GMT)

Perhaps he could afford to risk his career if he is hoping to get some call in English domestic season.

On a more serious note, quite frankly I think that he is just the case of a naive player who could not handle the pressure. Leaving like that just because of some threat which could very well be just a bad joke, craving for media attention, silly facebook updates, all these traits are of a person who is naive. Dont believe me? Well the guy has put down in original cell # in his facebook profile for public view. If that is not naive, I do not know what is.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 16, 2010, 4:12 GMT)

It is quiet clear to me Haider do not trust anyone in Pakistan team or PCB. I can see why?. The whole pak team is full of match fixers. All of them. PCB is worst entity protect anyon or anything. I do not think Haider is a asylum seeker. he was merely wants to live without complexity. He can always tow the line like kamran akmal and all akmal brothers doing it for Bookies.

ICC made a big mistake of not banning Pakistan until PCB top brass changes. Big Big mistake. These pakistanis will fix all pak matches in world cup and make a mess. It is better to ban pakistan than make them play fake in the World cup.

Akram, Imran khan are just wants to continue FIXING games than clean up PCB.

Haider is a hero not for whistle blowing more for standing up for himself.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 4:05 GMT)

"Another part can't work out why he would give up a budding career as an international cricketer if not because of something serious. "

Exactly - He must been threatened. He might have been a fool to do what he did. You know in really trying times , especially when it comes to your family your brain doesn't work the way it should.

Again, its not known whether he actually confided with anyone. Perhaps he did and got some advice.

Unless he deals with specifics, it will be very difficult for him to prove what he is claiming.

I am curious about what would happen next . Can he make a comeback to the team after this incident ?

On a separate note, Bob Woolmer death case should be investigated again.

Posted by evenflow_1990 on (November 16, 2010, 3:47 GMT)

"He isn't a great wicketkeeper - and the bar has been set remarkably low by Kamran Akmal" thats the line of the article. you make some interesting points that i hadn't considered yet.

Posted by Jeptic on (November 16, 2010, 3:44 GMT)

Mr. Samauidin, I like your last paragraph. However, I think that you got it wrong about Haider's "I wasnt to protect the team". He did not mean reputation as you suggested. He meant putting them in danger. Secondly, perhaps the BEST way of ensuring protection for his family IS to get to the media as quickly as possible. And like you rightly said, Lahore is the last place to look for protection, so, by going to the media, it impresses upon the authorities to protect his family because the world is watching!!! HE DID THE RIGHT THING!!!!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2010, 3:15 GMT)

I have stopped thinking about Pakistan cricket, its too bizarre. However I cannot stop watching it since there are some players I genuinely like. Take a poll of these sentiments and you will find that 90 pct agree !

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

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