No takers for Zulqarnain Haider
The Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has been ignored by Karachi and Multan for the season-opening domestic Twenty20, after being overlooked by the two Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) teams, his home region, earlier this week.
Zulqarnain played for the Lahore Eagles last year in the domestic tournament but this season, the Lahore teams - Eagles and Lions - have opted for the Akmal brothers, Kamran and Adnan, as their wicketkeepers.
"It is disappointing to not be considered in either of the Lahore teams because this is my home region and if they don't select me, who will," Zulqarnain had said.
"Haider was out of cricket for the last year and in Twenty20, we require cricketers who are performing so we went for better performers," Lahore region president Khawaja Nadeem said.
Zulqarnain last played for Pakistan in November 2010, in the ODI series against South Africa in UAE. He went missing from the team hotel in Dubai on the morning of the final ODI on November 8, having played a starring role in Pakistan's win in the previous game. He later resurfaced in the UK and said he fled since he had received death threats from unidentified people seeking to draw him into match-fixing. He tried to seek protection in the UK and placed an application for asylum that hinged on the nature of the information he was able to divulge, as the extraordinary nature of his case appeared to fall outside the usual conditions required of a person seeking refugee status.
In the aftermath of his flight, Zulqarnain announced his international retirement and his contract with the PCB was suspended. A fact-finding committee subsequently set-up by the PCB to look into the affair failed to find any clear motives behind his actions. However, in April this year, he decided to revoke his application for asylum and subsequently returned, having obtained security assurances from the government over his and his family's personal safety. He announced his decision to end his international retirement in May and was fined 500,000 rupees ($5,800) by the Pakistan board in June after a PCB disciplinary committee found him guilty of violating their code of conduct when he flew to London without informing the team management.
The Pakistan domestic T20 tournament will be played at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, from September 25. It will feature 14 teams including a side from Afghanistan.