Pakistan news November 11, 2010

ICC needs to tap players' phones - Haider

ESPNcricinfo staff

In his first public appearance since fleeing Dubai midway through a tour and surfacing in London, Zulqarnain Haider reiterated to reporters at an impromptu press conference at Chaudhry's TKC Restaurant in Southall that he fled because of death threats against him and his family, and said the best way for the ICC to eradicate match fixing is to "record all the players' phones and record where they are going."

"It was very hard for me when I got threats from one person in Dubai," he said. "I just felt very nervous that he gave me threats." Haider chose the venue because it had provided catering to the Pakistan team during its tour of England earlier this year.

Haider said "a lot of people are involved" in match-fixing and that he would co-operate fully with the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit as he wants cricket to be "clear of fixing", but did not accuse any of the players in the Pakistan team, saying he didn't want to blame or be negative towards anyone. The ACSU has already communicated with Haider over his claims.

The 24-year-old chose to flee to England because "this country is very humane, very co-operative, and there are very nice people here and there are very good rules here for my safety." However, he said he did not intend to claim asylum permanent, saying "I don't want any aid from the British government. I want to be a good citizen and I am a good citizen also in Pakistan. I want to live in peace."

Haider believes the person who threatened him wanted him to help fix the fourth and fifth ODIs against South Africa. He described the conversation but said he did not know the man's identity. "He said, 'If you work with us, we will give you a lot of money. If [not and] you go back home, we will kill you and your family.'"

He said he chose not to tell the Pakistan team management about his plans because he didn't want to create problems for someone else as well. "It was a crucial time for me, so I don't want to tell these things to my management. If your family was threatened, you would think like me. At that time I had pressure on me and I didn't want any problems for the Pakistan team or officials."

However, in an earlier phone interview CNN, Haider indicated he didn't tell team management because he wasn't sure whom he could talk to. "I just felt if I told anyone about the threat - senior players, my manager, the cricket board - maybe if they are involved in the situation they too will be in trouble. I listened to people in Pakistan who talked about the match fixing, they said that a lot of people are involved and I felt threatened and very disappointed."

Haider had a meeting with Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK and has asked for protection for his family "because I have two daughters and a wife, so I want to be safe." Pakistan's sports minister has said, however, that the government will not support Haider's bid for asylum. The PCB has also suspended his stipend contract and launched a full inquiry into the case. Responding to allegations in Pakistani media that he might have taken a bribe and run, Haider said he was willing to let the police check " all my accounts around the world" to prove his innocence.

Haider fled from Dubai without informing the team and resurfaced in London on Monday. He later confirmed later that he received threats from unidentified people following his team's one-wicket win in the fourth ODI against South Africa and was told to get in line for the fifth match. As a result of the threats Haider announced his retirement from cricket. The ICC said that Haider had erred in not informing the ACSU about the approach, but was ready to help the player if he was willing to engage with them.