Pakistan v SA

Village team to recruit Haider

2010-11-12 09:25
Zulqarnain Haider (File)

London - An English village cricket club famous for offering a haven to players with off-field problems wants to recruit Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider for the 2011 season.

Haider fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai in secrecy on Monday and is seeking political asylum in Britain after saying he received death threats for refusing to fix one-day matches against South Africa.

The Lashings World XI, a village cricket team, has previously recruited Rashid Latif, another Pakistan wicketkeeper who resisted match-fixing, and Henry Olonga, a Zimbabwean cricketer who protested against the political regime of Robert Mugabe.

Lashings chairperson David Folb on Thursday issued an open invitation to the Pakistan cricketer to get in touch with the Kent-based club.

"We'd love to have him in the team. We've been trying to contact him, via text, phone and e-mail and our door is always open to him," Folb said on the club's website.

Olonga, who wore a black armband in a Cricket World Cup match in 2003 to protest against the "death of democracy" in Zimbabwe, still plays for Lashings.

The village side also includes other, less-troubled former international cricketers such as Richie Richardson, of West Indies, England's Graeme Hick and Pakistan players Mohammad Akram and Azhar Mahmood.

The team of all-star veterans tours the country playing exhibition matches and working for charity.

"At Lashings we have a long and proud tradition of offering help to those in need," Folb said. "During and after the 2003 World Cup, Henry Olonga faced the very serious threat of assassination if he'd stayed in Zimbabwe and he's been with us ever since.

"Rashid Latif is another member of the Lashings family and he was treated as a pariah by certain people because he stood up for what he believed was right and said no to match-fixing.

"We believe Zulqarnain would feel at home with us."


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