Pakistan v SA

Pakistan keeper quits cricket

2010-11-09 12:17
Zulqarnain Haider (File)

Karachi - Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket after abandoning the team and flying to London, saying he had received death threats.

The 24-year-old on Monday failed to report to the cricket ground in Dubai for Pakistan's one-day international against South Africa.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said they had informed Dubai police of his disappearance. Sky Television later broadcast images that it said were of Haider arriving at London's Heathrow Airport.

"I am retiring from international cricket," Haider told Pakistan's Geo television by telephone from London.

"There is too much pressure on me, I have received death threats, my family has received threats," he said in the interview, without naming anyone or elaborating in precise detail on why he was threatened.

The wicket-keeper said he was threatened in the team's hotel in Dubai, after playing a crucial knock of 19 not out in the fourth match victory over South Africa in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

"When I went out of the hotel to eat dinner once he came up. He was alone but I felt there were two-three people behind him. I can describe him. He spoke Urdu but I cannot describe the accent accurately," Haider said.

"He said 'You will make lots of money if you join us and help us. If not, then staying in the team could be difficult and we can make things difficult for you.' I don't know why I was approached and others weren't."

The PCB said Monday it would launch an inquiry into Haider's case and said he should have told team managers about the threats, but Haider said he kept quiet to protect other players.

"If I had told the PCB or players, it would've gotten out and then who knows? I don't feel it would've been better to tell anyone or authorities there. If I had told any of the other players, it might have put them in trouble also," he said.

Haider thanked the PCB for giving him a chance to play for Pakistan.

"I would like to thank the chairman and selectors for supporting me and selecting me. The management has not put me under any pressure over anything," he said.

Haider, who made his international debut in 2007, played one Test, four one-day internationals and three Twenty20 games for Pakistan.

He played a match-saving knock of 88 in the Birmingham Test on Pakistan's tour of England in August, before he was sent home after injuring his finger.

Last week Pakistan suspended three cricketers, including former captain Salman Butt, who are under investigation for spot-fixing during the England tour.

The scandal broke after a report by British tabloid The News of the World prompted Scotland Yard to launch an investigation into allegations of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test in August.


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