Any hopes that Zulqarnain Haider may have of seeking asylum in the United Kingdom would appear to hinge on the nature of the information he is able to divulge into the Pakistan match-fixing scandal, because the extraordinary nature of his case would appear to fall outside the usual conditions required of a person seeking refugee status.

Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention defines a refugee as "a person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution."

The "fear" in Haider's case - namely the threat of reprisals from criminal gangs involved in match-fixing - does not appear to fall into the usual categories. Therefore the question is whether that fear is objectively well-founded and, perhaps more to the point in his case, whether the Pakistan state would be able to protect him.

"He would need to show that the arms of the state would not be able to protect him, and therefore that the British government needs to step in and offer international protection," a British immigration barrister told ESPNcricinfo. "Whether people are at risk from criminal gangs is a bit of an open question in asylum law. It would be very much dependant on the fact of what he could prove, both about what had happened to him personally, and more generally with match-fixing in Pakistan."

In coming to the UK, Haider could also be protected under the European Convention of Human Rights which, according to the terms of a court ruling from March 2000, prevents the automatic extradition of unsuccessful asylum applicants, regardless of who is the agent of persecution. But once again, that would depend on him proving he is at risk. Neither UAE nor Pakistan are signatories of the Refugee Convention.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.