PCB unaware of Haider’s return

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that it had no information about the return of refuge wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider to the country from London. A senior PCB official said Wednesday neither was the board aware of Haider having withdrawn his application for asylum with the British home office nor his return to Pakistan. “He has not been in touch with us so we don’t anything about his plans,” chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed was quoted as saying.

Haider fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai last November hours before a one-day international and claimed that an unidentified man had threatened him of dire consequences if he did not cooperate in spot-fixing in the ODI series that South Africa eventually won 3-2. After reaching London without informing team management, Haider filed for asylum as he was given a temporary residence pass by the British Home Office.

Last week, the wicketkeeper said after meeting interior minister Rehman Malik that he would return home around April 24. He had said that Malik had assured him that he (Haider) and his family would be provided all security and safety in Pakistan. Haider, who made his Test debut last year at Edgbaston against England, has said he wants to resume his cricket career after returning home. But Subhan made it clear the wicketkeeper would have to first clear up a lot of unanswered questions before the board decides if he can play again at any level.

“He has still not responded to the letter we sent him asking him to explain his conduct. As it is, his contract was suspended and has now expired. He has to first satisfy the board’s committees before we decide on allowing him back into the sport,” Subhan said. Haider, in a recent interview to ‘Geo News’, stuck to his claims that there was corruption in cricket and insisted he had only decided to return home because of the assurances given by the government. “When the government gives you assurance than there is no purpose of my staying in London or seeking asylum. I fled to London because I was under threat and genuinely feared for my family,” he had said in the interview. Subhan said the code of conduct of the board was applicable to all players.