Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has announced his retirement from international cricket effective immediately after raising concerns over the safety of his family.
The 24-year-old made global headlines yesterday after fleeing Pakistan’s team hotel to travel to London after reportedly receiving death threats for refusing to fix two games.
He had left a message on his Facebook page reading, “leaving pakistan cricket because get bad msg fr 1 man fr lose the match in last game,” although the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had said that Haider had not informed them that he was leaving team hotel or the reasons behind his departure.
Haider has now broken his silence on his disappearing act before Pakistan’s final against South Africa last night – which the Proteas won to take the series 3-2 – rather than “sell out the dignity and respect of my motherland”.
He explained the motives behind his decision stemmed from being approached by an individual wanting him to fix the fourth and fifth one-day games.
“It is best to retire from international cricket since my family and I are constantly getting threats,” he told Pakistan’s Geo News channel. “I was told to cooperate or I would face lots of problems.
“He said ‘If you don’t cooperate you will no longer be part of the team and we can make life very difficult for you.”
However, he has no regrets about his decision to quit the international game.
“I did what I felt was right. I don’t want to go into details now,” he said. “But it is a fact that I couldn’t be part of any corruption in the series or go against my country. “It is best for me to step down because I can’t play in these circumstances. But I would like to continue to play domestic cricket.”
His reason for choosing London and the UK was simple – that he felt he would be safe there and knew the law protected those in the right.
However, the young wicketkeeper, who has played only one Test and four one-day games for his country, admitted he had not yet decided whether to seek political asylum in Britain.
“I have not thought about this,” he explained. “I don’t even have enough money to hire a lawyer, my only concern now is the security of my family in Lahore.