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Pakistan cricket embroiled in fresh controversy

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David Bond | 22:54 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

The mystery surrounding Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider's decision to flee his team's base in Dubai on Monday poses more questions than answers.

Why did he come to London without telling team officials? Why was Heathrow Airport his chosen destination? And what happened to him after he landed in the United Kingdom?

Was he running scared from a bookmaker who threatened him after he hit the winning runs in Friday's one-day international against South Africa?

Or was it no more than a flounce, a reaction to being fined for breaking a team curfew?

At this stage, all we have to go on is Haider's cryptic Facebook message and a quote from his brother Raza, who suggested, after talking to his sibling on the telephone, that he was "upset", as if he had "some sort of pressure on him".

What we do know is that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is deeply concerned over the wicketkeeper's safety and wants to speak to him urgently.

Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider snags the ball to stop South Africa

Haider is staying in the UK on a one-month visa. Photo: AP

Just as worryingly, whatever made Haider flee Dubai was serious enough to warrant his family in Lahore being placed under police protection.

After a year of damaging scandals involving Pakistan cricket, this latest episode is likely to raise more doubts over the game's integrity.

The hope for the ICC and its anti-corruption unit is that, if Haider has received threats from shady figures in Dubai acting for illegal gambling syndicates, he could be key to opening up a corruption conspiracy long suspected but proving near impossible to stand up.

It is surely no coincidence Dubai is the setting for the latest scene in Pakistan's psychodrama. During a trip to India in October, I spoke to people with connections to bookmakers, with many claiming Dubai was the nerve centre for an industry worth billions of pounds.

The three Pakistan players at the centre of the recent spot-fixing allegations - Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir and Salman Butt - are still waiting to find out if they will face police charges in Britain after a newspaper claimed they arranged to bowl deliberate no balls during the Lord's Test match in August.

A second file was sent from the Metropolitan Police to the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday but it is believed there is unlikely to be any movement on the case before Christmas. It is thought police inquiries are being held up by a separate customs investigation focused on the fixer at the centre of the affair, Mazhar Majeed.

The ICC is unable to act until it is clear what is happening with those investigations. In the meantime, the three players remain suspended. And until the ICC is able to act, it is impossible to know how deep the problem in Pakistan cricket goes.

Haider may provide a breakthrough for investigators but for now there is just deep concern for his safety.

Update 0900 GMT

Zulqarnain Haider is set to become international cricket's first refugee after claiming asylum in the UK.

The Pakistan wicketkeeper has told Pakistan's Geo television network: "I understand there is rule in Britain that if you are on right and if you are not a criminal then they always protect you."

It is understood Haider presented himself to the UK Border Agency at Heathrow Airport on Monday afternoon.

In so doing Haider has, for now at least, eased concerns for his safety after he fled Dubai saying he had received threats following Pakistan's victory in a one-day match against South Africa on Friday.

His family remain under police guard in Lahore but in claiming asylum Haider has at least guaranteed himself a measure of security.

He now faces a a process that could take up to six months before it is clear whether he will be granted refugee status. The UK Border Agency must assess whether his claims are credible.

Police and anti-corruption officials will now be desperate to interview Haider about why he went on the run. It is clear from a message posted on his twitter account on 24 October that he was already trying to help the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

They will hope that Haider's evidence can help provide a real insight into the suspected connections between illegal gambling syndicates and the Pakistan dressing room.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Or is just because he can claim asylum here?
    Whatever the reason, cricket now stinks to high heaven.

  • Comment number 2.

    ...and not an English journalist in sight...This just seems to be snowballing, you would think that given past events in the UK everything would have just settled down as any dodgy dealings (if any were any actually taking place) would have been put on the backburner until the smoke cleared - apparantly not...
    I was surprised to hear statements in the case of Butt, Asif and Amir stating that there was "no evidence" despite the video that everyone has seen and some of the money being found in the players room - I was thinking, given this statement, that maybe the NOTW had not gotten as open and shut case as had previously been thought and maybe there were holes in it that we were not aware of....seems more unlikely by the day now though - there is no smoke without a fire and it seems as though a volcano is sat firmly on the heads of the Pakistan Cricket team.

  • Comment number 3.

    The charitable explanation is that all Pakistan cricketers have it written into their contract that they must not allow a fortnight to pass without some form of controversy that garners headlines across the cricket viewing world.

    The reality would appear to be more sinister and the truth is that until it is confirmed that he is safe and the reasons for his abrupt departure are known, there's very little value in trying to work out what the hell is going on.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is potentially a huge story, suprised it hasn't hit the front pages yet.

    BUT....sorry Haider, I struggle to see why you should get asylum here. You're not a good enough 'keeper to get in a county side, hence can't justify a work permit.

  • Comment number 5.

    @1 & 4
    what a refreshing attitude to take. Asylum. utter genius. but, i suppose, you may be onto something there.

    on the other hand, if a test standard keeper who scores a 50-odd on his debut and now plays regularly for his country cannot be considered good enough to even make a county side then wow. things are looking really rosy in the county game.
    besides, i do not expect that being granted asylum would change his status as an overseas player, unless someone who actually knows about this sort of thing can elucidate us?
    if he would be accepted only as an overseas player then i suppose that it would be extremely difficult for him to find a county side who'd give him a contract.

    i cannot wait for more details to emerge with regards to this story. it could be explosive. asylum applications aside.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why come to the UK? Hardly the first safe country he's passed through. We'd be mugs to accept any asylum claim from him, but considering we grant asylum to terrorists and plane hijackers, Haider should have no problem in remaining here.
    And Pakistani cricketers are much maligned for their alleged corruption but why little focus on the root cause of all this? The enormous, illegal betting industry in India that is behind all these scandals. Nobody bothers with that, however.

  • Comment number 7.

    Couchprofessor #5....Haider is only first choice when Kamran Akmal is 'unavailable' for what ever reason..... and "Geoffreys grandmother" is a better 'keeper than him. Further comment on Akmal would result in this post being deleted.

    I'd rather have Foster, Davies, Prior (!) Nixon, Keiswetter, Mustard or Buttler even without giving it much thought.

  • Comment number 8.

    He’s now announced retirement apparently so I now agree more with the following sentence by David Bond: “Was he running scared from a bookmaker who threatened him after he hit the winning runs in Friday's one-day international against South Africa?”

    I mean he’s not a big name or someone who has played a lot of cricket or has had a track record of bringing victories to Pakistan. Even in technical terms he’s only a wicket-keeper who cannot affect the outcome of a match as much as a batsman or a bowler can. It would’ve been more justified had Abdul Razzaq made this type of claim. Besides, if someone offered him money or even threatened him to lose the final match then he could’ve easily fallen ill and missed the match that Pakistan lost any way. Why disappear and come running to UK?

    So perhaps he did go against a “pre-agreed plan” in one way or the other to have ended up like this.

    And yes, the asylum part sounds more likely…he must’ve had a valid visa to UK from the team’s recent scandal-struck tour.

  • Comment number 9.

    If what Zulqarnain is saying is true, then why isn't he being applauded for his REFUSAL TO MATCHFIX?

    Surely at a time when Pakistani cricket is on its lowest ebb, and there have been some very hard times in the past, this standing up against corruption should be made an example of.

    This whole running off to the UK stinks a bit, but saying this as a Pakistani supporter, our cricketers are heroes. Why would he want to leave for the UK, as so many have done including my grandparents did in the 60s? It makes no sense that this story was concucted just to enable Haider to gain asylum in the UK just as it makes no sense that he went to the UK rather than the ICC after these death threats.

  • Comment number 10.

    Let's be clear - if Haider is helping stem the tide of corruption, he can come and live with me. Anyone who stands up to these people should be celebrated and, really, his cricketing ability is neither here nor there. He has the gloves for his country, and could easily have pocketed some cash for a few drops and cheap dismissal.

    Good on him. hope it all works out for him.

  • Comment number 11.

    It hardly is an eight nation sport, and magnitude of these dramas for quite some time. wow.

  • Comment number 12.

    Glad to see others feel as i do about his asylum application.
    Another countries corruption becomes our problem.
    Why should we have to keep him and his family, PCB's problem, should sort it out themselves.

  • Comment number 13.

    Glad to see the spirit of cricket is alive and well in these comments. For the first time a Pakistan player publicly refuses to be bribed and is forced to flee with death threats and all we get are sneers. Are these cricket fans? He came to England because we still have a reputation for fairness but not for long if some of these comments show. Our own cricketers made a strong display of their revulsion for corruption but they can do so without the fear of being personally threatened or their families threatened. I am glad the game is clean in England but it is far far harder to speak out when corruption is not mainly about money but intimidation. Jonathan Agnew has it spot on and I am so pleased that a senior commentator has spoken out.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why come to the UK? Hardly the first safe country he's passed through. We'd be mugs to accept any asylum claim from him, but considering we grant asylum to terrorists and plane hijackers, Haider should have no problem in remaining here.
    why? He's hardly likely to be scrounging off the state is he? In fact he will be an above average earner so paying more tax than yourself most likely.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am appalled at the narrow-minded short-sightedness of some of the remarks on here. If, as seems to be the case, this is a man who is in fear for his life because he has had the courage to say "no" to the criminal scum who threaten to destroy a great sport, we should be giving him all the support we possibly can.

    Give him asylum on that basis? Hell, yes; find him a job, help him find a home and prove by his example that such bravery and respect for the game is REWARDED not PUNISHED.

    I am embarrassed and frankly ashamed that some of my fellow countrymen could take such a blinkered, uncaring and frankly utterly ignorant view.

  • Comment number 16.

    All the evidence points to Zulqarnain fleeing match-fixers threatening him and his family. Is the ICC helping him right now? That seems the only relevant question to be asking.

  • Comment number 17.

    Someone stands up for the integrity of cricket and gets the abuse shown on this page? Am I still dreaming, or has cricket fallen so low that football standards are now acceptable?

    Fair play to the guy - now it is up to the ICC to get their collective finger out and deal with the issue. If they can't remember where they left their finger I can provide a map, with directions from their elbow.

  • Comment number 18.

    Sorry, have I wondered onto a Daily Mail page by mistake?

    If this guys life haas been put at risk because he has shown the courage to stand up to the corruption that is trying to ruin cricket then he should be applauded rather than hit by the usual anti-immigration nonsense.

  • Comment number 19.

    If Haider's comments are true, and I have little reason to believe otherwise, then these really are dark days for Pakistan cricket.

    Looking at the summers events, for example the inclusion of 18 year old Mohammed Amir in the betting scandal, playing for Pakistan seems quite a scary prospect. If Haider is having his family threatened to throw a game, and fears for his own personal safety so much that he fleas to Britain during a series and so quietly that people thought him missing, is it any surprise that the likes of Amir gave in to these bullies?

    If what Haider says is true, that he fled before the final game rather than "sell out the dignity and respect of my motherland", then fair play to him.

    It, however, raises serious questions as to how the ICC is meant to control this problem. It's easy to punish the players, but are they the real problem? From what I can see, the real issue are the bookies, agents, and whoever else is behind these betting scandals. This is a much harder area to intercept and punish. Hopefully the ICC is working overtime to try and sort this mess. What we do need, is more men like Haider to stand up and be counted, to name and shame. That way, hopefully, Pakistan can overcome what is quickly becoming an absolute disaster for the game.

  • Comment number 20.

    He has come to the land of the colonial masters seeking protection against possible mafia elements who want to bring harm to him and his family. Surely, the colonial masters who ruled over his lands and took plenty of resources from his country can afford to give him sanctuary.. This is Great Britain. We didnt get the title Great for no reason.

    For some, though, if he fixes matches he is a cheat, and if he refuses to fix matches and runs away from corruption to a land that may offer him protection, then he is a filthy asylum seeker looking to live off our hard paid taxes!

  • Comment number 21.

    If we cannot give asylum to a someone blowing the whistle on corruption of this scale, where one of our national sports has so much at stake, the UK is not the country I want it to be. Cricket (or indeed any sport) is utterly meaningless when the result is suspicious.

    Cricket is one of our national sports and the integrity of it has been shot to pieces with claim and counter claim over the last six month, stretching to all corners of Pakistani cricket, poisoning every result they are involved in and every team they play against.

    If Haider is prepared to reveal what is really going on, then we should support him. How else are we going to solve the problem? Leave it to the PCB?!?

    You have to ask why he would make something like this up? I was very impressed with his knock in the test series and found it bizzare that he suddenly had a broken finger as he had seemed fine in a post match interview I saw.

    When he gets back in the team, he does well again. He hits the winning runs against SA, goes out for dinner, gets fined for staying out late so he decides to fly to London and claim asylum.

    It doesn't make any sense unless you believe his claim that he was threatened by someone. It also makes no sense to believe that this chap who has played a handful of games is the only player that has received such an approach. Surely if you are going to corrupt people, you start with people who are going to be playing most of the games, not the second string wickey?

    The key question is who threatened him and who else have these people threatened. Maybe by giving him asylum, we are about to find out.

  • Comment number 22.

    He threw his toys out of the pram, because he was reprimanded by the team management. Why all this fuss.

  • Comment number 23.

    He was fined about 120 dollars. Doubt he would risk it all for that amount of money. If he did, I wouldn't blame him for match fixing or sponging off our system because he must be getting paid less than a monkey in london zoo.

  • Comment number 24.

    22. At 11:48am on 09 Nov 2010, shjcarm wrote:
    He threw his toys out of the pram, because he was reprimanded by the team management. Why all this fuss.

    You must be more naive than a virgin on her wedding night...

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Post 8 what complete rubbish, the wicket keeper is in the ideal position to "fix" a match.

    The initial concern over Pakistan and match fixing in 2010 came about because of a couple of amazing keeper errors in a game in Australia regarding both a stumping and a run out.

    The keeper has plenty of chances to miss a stumping if standing up, to fumble a throw for a run out; to drop catches or let through byes.

    He is probably the one person who has most impact in a fielding team. Also from what I understand from his position in the batting line up he is in an ideal positon to cause a run out or get himself out at a crucail time late in a run chase.

  • Comment number 27.

    Good Lord...what is it with the rush to judge the guy?

    If his story is proved he has taken a very brave stand against the corruption that is ruining Pakistan's international cricket team and staining the game in general.

    The first guy to make a stand against it is accused of just pulling a stunt to stay in the UK? I would think, as a sportsman of international status, he would manage that without the need for some sort of easily discredited stunt.

    It could be that he was actually threatened and he did actually flee to the UK believing (thankfully correctly) that this is a country that values people's inherent rights, regardless of nationality.

    The burst of cynicism and rush to judgement, the lack of compassion or a spirit of inquiry on this thread from so many posters just shows that too many football fans are still taking an interest in cricket with the Ashes so near to hand. ;p

  • Comment number 28.

    Personally I'd like to thank Simon Garrett and Battingforbell for restoring some of my lost faith in the public of my country.

    The guy is scared for his family and his life, he's just quit international cricket and flew to a foreign country just to try and keep his family safe, I think we should be a little more supportive of what he's had to do to ensure that nobody gets hurt over match fixing!

    Some respect might be in order for someone who can do so much for his family and national pride.

  • Comment number 29.

    First of all I am revolted by the narrow minded comments of some of the people here who represent the society as is now (as Richie Bennaud said).

    Fair play to this man who has spoken out. I know how difficult it is over there to take a stand!.

    I feel the whole issue is MUCH bigger than just the pockets of incidents we hear about and PCB and ICC dont know how to handle it hence,.."we want to speak to him before the cat is out of the bag".

    I think our newspapers should get exclusive rights and cover every single bit of the issue.

    This will startle the world of Cricket

  • Comment number 30.

    We are not sick of Pakistan because they play thrilling cricket when they are playing in earnest. Haider played like a hero under pressure in the fourth ODI. What we didn't know was that he WAS a hero under pressure because he was defying gangers to win the game, not just the SA bowling!! It was very moving to see the Dubai stadium full of cricket fans cheering for Pakistan. Their enthusiasm was a tonic. They were really having a great time, families, parties, the lot. And all the time there were criminal forces at work trying to ruin it for greed, issuing death threats to players. We can't let them win.

  • Comment number 31.

    Ah, reading some of these comments makes you proud to be English doesn't it........The man's family are under armed guard for gods sake. But why let the facts get in the way of a good opportunity for a bit of mindless xenephobia?

    We don't complain about having a team full of South African's. But I suppose someone will tell me that's 'different'.

  • Comment number 32.

    Speaking to many fellow Pakistani fans over the last few months, they have come to the belief that every cricket match is fixed bar a few exceptions like the Ashes possibly.

    And it is difficult to believe that this is only a Pakistan phenomenon. We are told that cricket is a multi billion pound betting industry - surely the bookmakers are not waiting for Pakistan to play their 3 test matches and 10 ODIs in the year to make their millions!!!! As Yasir Hamid said in that beautiful NOTW video "only the ones that are caught are criminals"!

  • Comment number 33.

    The obvious question is that if he is being threatened then it is beyond belief that he is not the only one. Clearly others are not going to come out easily as understandably they have their health and that of their family to consider, plus if they have participated in fixing then they are likely to be suspended along with the others.

    Question for all the doubters is what would you do if your family was threatened by criminal gangs. There is no easy answer hear, but it is time the Pakistan team openly admitted they have a problem rather than accusing the world and media of of conspiring against them.

  • Comment number 34.

    As a human being I was disgusted by the nature of some of the early comments on this blog but heartened as sense and maturity appears to have shone through.

    I, for one, am proud of what he has done. To battle against corruption and cheating and fighting the good fight when your life has been threatened is something that should be applauded and not attacked.

    It would have been so easy for him to take the money and do whatever these people had asked/told him to do yet he chose not to and in the face of threats on his life. As jcb211 said earlier, if he needs somewhere to live then he can come live with me.

    I hope the ICC can get to the bottom of this and rid our beloved game of the corruption that clearly envelopes it.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ cynicalyorkie

    i just read my initial comment and it sounds very muddled up! i blame taking an hour to post it in the middle of work.
    what i meant to say is that he'd be a decent county keeper, but probably would not make a squad as an overseas player.
    i just read somewhere (this is largely unsubstantiated) that a certain Pakistani wicketkeeper's father in law is a heavy duty bookie back in Lahore. so one can fully understand his decision to 'flee'. he could be under heavy pressure at the moment and i'd just love to know more details

  • Comment number 36.

    I can only assume that the some of the comments about Haider on here come from people who know nothing about cricket and aren't part of the cricketing community. If his story is correct - and obviously there's a lot to go through before it's confirmed - then we should be welcoming him.

    I'm actually proud that we're regarded as the kind of law-abiding, corruption-free country that would be a safe haven for someone in danger. The day when we're NOT regarded as that kind of country would be a shameful day - because it would mean that we, too, were no longer a place where people can by and large be safe from corruption.

  • Comment number 37.

    Look i have just registered to make comments here as i am so disgusted with what some people are saying.

    Have we turned in to such a cynical country that when someone comes to our country we automatically think he is just trying to scam us. There is a process that you go through and i am sure he will be put through a lot more than normal as he is who he is!

    I think we should support him in any way possible and help him so we can try and get rid of this epidemic that seems to be spreading through cricket at the moment.

    There is nothing worse than the feeling of finding out that a game I thought was real and paid £65 to watch turns our to have match fixing allegations.

    If Haider is the man to even get one step towards the people behind this then i think he is a very brave individual and should get support where ever possible.

    What bothers me the most is the fact that the ICC and other powers within cricket really don't seem to be effective and what ever they do doesn't work.

    But for some of the comments on here to go as far as they do really upsets me that some people in this country can be so narrow minded and un-supportive of a man who may well be in danger along with his family.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    A previous post of mine regarding the alleged match fixing / betting activities was deemed to be against the house rules, so if this very mild comment passes scrutiny, the latest situation with a player fleeing due to threats and everybody else claiming innocence is all a bit incongruous.
    When will the truth be known so that we can return to the real event, which used to be called a cricket match?
    It's dreadfully sad.

  • Comment number 41.

    It is amusing and scaring simultaneously!Imagine a player of an international team fleeing the scene on the day of an international match. All denials by the country's Cricket Board and the lack of consistent action from ICC have not helped. Very soon the lovers of cricket will stop watching these games. Once the TRP ratings fall and gate collections drops, the sponsorship will stop. There is so much liquidity which is the root cause of the disrepute that has fallen on cricket. Once the juice dries up, things should become alright.

  • Comment number 42.


    Normally I wouldn't pay any attention to message board arguments, but some of the reactions on here... well, I had to log in to register my utter disgust at the cynicism and xenophobia on display. Also, I might add, to express support for others who are dismayed by the same negativity.

    The guy is 24, has already lost his mother, almost lost his dad. He has apparently been threatened, and had his family threatened. He's been familiar with England since he played the U-15 World cup there ten years ago, at age 13.

    This disgraceful episode should be front page news. We'e learned a lot about the rotten state of Pakistan cricket; now it's clear that Haider had absolutely zero confidence in the PCB, in Pakistan authorities, or in his own team-mates to *protect his life*. To *protect his family*.

    As reserve wicketkeeper behind the Almighty Akmal, he has zero standing in Pakistan's international team. As a young guy, new to the team, he would be considerably vulnerable to fixers who could wipe out his career, or it seems, him, without much notice from the wider world. As a wicketkeeper, he's got a say in every delivery. Rumours have been rife about the Lahore cabal in the PCB, maybe someone wanted him to fall into line.

    The point is, there's enough in this story to potentially hole the PCB below the waterline. This guy has come to England ahead of the ICC, the PCB, Pakistan, ahead of everywhere else. He deserves time to be heard. I'm sure he doesn't want to end up as another Hanif Kodvavi, shot 67 times and hacked to bits in South Africa, having fled Pakistan. Calling him an asylum-seeking freeloader is a thorough disgrace. He had a choice of a few drops or byes for big cash, or going fugitive and fearing for himself and his family. Given the choice he's made, he deserves to be heard, not vilified.

  • Comment number 43.

    Too much cynicism and scepticism in this blog. Let's take Haider at his word, for the minute - I'm always prepared to give someone the benefit of the doubt. If he's being truthful about all this, then it's a bit dramatic, but in the long term exactly what the sport needed. As the blog says, corruption was "long suspected", so a whistleblowing player is exactly what was required; for him to come out and say these things is only a bad thing if you didn't think there were corruption and threats in the game until now.

    And if we assume the worst for a moment, that he isn't being truthful, for whatever reason - oh. In that case he'd just be another over-excitable cricketer. No big news there. People seem to be getting far too excited about motives and conspiracy theories. All this talk of asylum and overseas players, as far as we know he's just come to Britain temporarily, as the best place to say what he's got to say. All the talk is premature hype, and the blog is as bad as the comments:

    "Why was Heathrow Airport his chosen destination? And what happened to him after he landed in the United Kingdom?"

    Er, Heathrow is the premier airport of the UK, where did you expect him to arrive at? Pile out of a military jet at Wootton Bassett? Parachute in to the highlands, a la Rudolph Hess. Of course he was going to land at Heathrow. And presumably once he did, he got off the plane, went through customs, and Border Control quizzed him on his plans, as per normal procedure. Calm down...

  • Comment number 44.

    Seriously? Is the Daily Mail site not working today? This guy has been threatened with his life, and his family are under armed guard because he's tried to play the game in the right spirit instead of handing it to the crooked bookmakers of the World, and all some of you can do is moan because he's trying to claim asylum here?!

    Get a grip people. I'd rather have someone showing some integrity claim asylum here then people showing prejudice who were born here being Little Englanders and criticising someone because they're doing the right thing.

  • Comment number 45.

    "Or was it no more than a flounce, a reaction to being fined for breaking a team curfew?"

    Seriously does David think that is a reason for fleeing the country? A mere 12000 rupees and a reprimand makes a man to give up his country/family? I never thought David could even think that this could be a reason!!

    And then we have a few early posters here moaning about his wicket-keeping skills, his claim for place in English team etc. For God's sake, if what Haider said is right, there is much more bigger issues than little money or career. His and his family's life is endangered -- do you get it? Please put yourself in his shoes and see how it feels if you can.

  • Comment number 46.

    Seriously? Is the Daily Mail site not working today? This guy has been threatened with his life, and his family are under armed guard because he's tried to play the game in the right spirit instead of handing it to the crooked bookmakers of the World, and all some of you can do is moan because he's trying to claim asylum here?!


    Daily Mail is only eligible to make a comment if it's Anti Immigration, Anti Non-British, Anti Muslim, Anti Jewish, Anti Religion, Sleazy celeb gossip.

    Yeah im not surprised to tell you the truth, at the attitude of some people here. A Mans life is in dangerous, and all people can think about is politics. Ironic how they then complain how superficial and farcical British society is.

    People will stoop to any level to take a pop at someone

  • Comment number 47.

    Haider deserves Hero status in Pakistan and in the UK for throwing away his International career rather than deliberately drop easy catches like many other Pakistani fielders have done in 2010.
    Ordinary Indian and Pakistani gamblers should also be grateful to Haider because they now know for sure that fixes have distorted games and that they have lost money to bookies behind the fixes.
    There are just as many guns in the hands of Pakistani gamblers as in the hands of bookies, so while Haider may have to worry about his own life and that of his family, the bookies have hundreds of thousands of cheated punters likely to come gunning for them in the near future for their anti-Pakistani bribery that dishonours their country and takes away pride in the national team.
    Ijaz Butt has publicly admitted to hearing gossip from bookies, hopefully now is the time for the Pakistan Government to remove all with known ties to illegal bookies from professional cricket.
    As an Englishman I welcome Haider to the UK and say that with his moral values he will be very welcome in UK professional cricket if he plays the way he did in his Test debut. I hope that there is at least 1 UK newspaper that will offer some financial security in return for this career ending story.
    May God bless and protect Haider and his family from the corruption that is corrupting cricket.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    I personally hope we do give the lad asylum, as its clear that hes in serious danger if he returns to pakistan, as for not being good enought to be in a county side, thats rubbish, I watch the lad play at edgbaston and his 88 was one of the high spots in that game.

    The one thing against him is that at the moment he would be classed as an overseas player, and the counties wont emply a keeper as the overseas pro, as they get better milage out of a Bowler or Batsman. It would come down to whether the ECb were prepared to relax the rules which is asylum case is heard.

  • Comment number 50.

    Until all the facts are known, one cannot casually draw any kind of conclusion on this bizarre story, one way or the other. However, one or two things appear to be possible:

    1. Either he's telling the truth; or

    2. He's doing it for ulterior motives.

    If the former is true, Haider needs all the protection we can provide him. But is the latter is correct, he will need to finance his own way back to Lahore.

    Nonetheless, it is another black mark on the tale that is Pakistani cricket.

  • Comment number 51.

    For everybody commenting on whether he will get asylum here, right now this just isn't the issue.

    He is only a few months down the line from playing an international in GREAT BRITAIN. If i were him, in his position of potential panic and great distress, i would think about where i last felt safe and the answer could be Britain. If he felt safe playing here when he did recently then it is likely that he knows somebody here that he feels safe with.

    This is kind of in response to everybody saying he passed through most of mainland Europe that would "ordinarily" be considered safe countries but if he has never been there before he may be equally as frightened to just randomly land there. Similarly with modern transport London is only several hours (and is still a direct flight from Dubai) away from the other safe countries anyway.

    One more point to the people who are moaning about him getting asylum and a job. If he really is standing up to the bullying and intimidation to allegedly match fix, which seems to be the issue, so he is being true and integral to his statement then regardless of whether he manages to kickstart some proof of match fixing he can have my job. (And i do say that without knowing fully how work permits actually work)

  • Comment number 52.

    "If he had problems he could have gone to the police and management etc To just fly to another country like that without notifying anything is highly strange !"

    Did you think that he rightly must have thought they could be part of this whole system? He must have thought that if I who played a few matches was approached this way, surely those who play often must be knowing them too and so he cannot trust them.

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    If he has a genuine claim for asylum then fair enough. But it's just baffling that he chooses to fly to the UK as a response to these alleged threats, without informing his team, manager, the Pakistani cricket board and the ICC. Is this not a rather strange course of action? Why the UK, of all places?

  • Comment number 55.

    Britain should take it as a complimen ( if telling the truth) that somebody would think of our country as a safe haven if they are in danger.

  • Comment number 56.

    How long until he's eligible to play for England? One can never have enough good wicket keepers, or foreign-born players available for selection.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why wouldn't it be the UK? He clearly didn't feel safe in Dubai, so he ruled staying there out. He's from Pakistan, but he was getting threats towards his family who are there, so that wouldn't have seemed safe either. The obvious choice after those two would be Britain, a country where he's been several times before, and where he spent time in very recently. Others have already explained why he would want to leave rather than go to the "authorities", fear and intimidation do funny things to the way your mind works.

  • Comment number 58.

    Clearly Haider is taking advantage of this situation to meet his own personal ambitions - claiming asylum in 'Mother' England. If this is indeed his ambition, then he should be required to join the queue.
    However, he'll be welcomed with open arms, as will the rest of his extended family.

  • Comment number 59.

    Please can i ask 1 question of everyone else:

    If you were in his position what would you do?

    My answer: go to the place I feel will protect me, has a history of doing something against corruption, and finally where i will be listened to.

    He has formally asked for asylum and i suspect that because he believes the threat against him and his family is genuine.

    If his story isn't genuine then we will know in the end he will have to face people every day be it here or anywhere else.

    Do you really think he would go through all he has gone through (especially throwing his international career away) if he did not believe he was put in this monstrous position.

    Good luck to the man i hope he and his family are safe and that what he has to say will be listened to and acted upon by the powers that be in cricket.

  • Comment number 60.

    There are plenty of countries that accept genuine asylum seekers. Haider just happened to choose the one that played top class county cricket where cricketers are amongst the highest paid in the world! Not very suspicious at all...

  • Comment number 61.

    Ilokid wrote

    "Clearly Haider is taking advantage of this situation to meet his own personal ambitions - claiming asylum in 'Mother' England. If this is indeed his ambition, then he should be required to join the queue.
    However, he'll be welcomed with open arms, as will the rest of his extended family."

    You must be a cricket fan to be posting your comment on this, so i have to ask you where this comment comes from as i am horrified another cricket fan would even think along these lines after the summer we have just been through.

    Or are you just commenting on another person trying to get in to this country because if you are then there should be no place for you on here or for that matter anywhere else!

  • Comment number 62.

    There seems to be some serious confusion here about what asylum actually is. It has nothing to do with whether you would get a work permit (or your economic benefit to the country) and definitely has nothing to do with how good you are at cricket!

    Granting asylum means giving someone permission to remain in the country because of a risk of persecution. The right to claim asylum is in international law. Governments are obliged to provide protection to people who meet the criteria for asylum. The UK has signed these international laws and they are part of UK law.

    If he meets the criteria he will be allowed to stay, if not he will be asked to leave. Just like anyone else.

  • Comment number 63.

    eoinsmith002 - I agree with your view on the racist attitudes from some on here. Kamana in comment 4 appears to know that the UK grants asylum to terrorists - maybe Kamana you should write to the Government and let them know all your brilliant theories and insider info? I'm sure they'd take it as seriously as it deserves to be taken...

    Ignoring the low IQ racists for the time being however, its patently clear why Haider chose the UK over other countries.

    1) Our media instantly his profile, keeps him safe.
    2) We're a cricket nation - little point taking his story to the Germans or Americans is there?
    3) There's a powerful Pakistani diplomatic presence here.
    4) We (despite the odd racist pratt) are a welcoming and friendly society - just ask Henry Olonga how he feels about the English.
    5) The ECB is tring harder than other cricket assocations to fight corruption.
    6) Flights to Heathrow are commonplace and he has friends in London.

    Not rocket science why he came here is it? Let's hear what he has to say - he's clearly not some 'benefit hunting asylum seeker' - he's just turned down serious money for the sake of honesty!

  • Comment number 64.

    One may question Haider's motives for seeking asylum in England, but my greatest fear in all this is that he is telling the truth and that the problem the News of the World exposed back in August may be that much bigger than any of us dared to imagine. For if he is, then the problem of matchfixing is one that goes beyond the remit of the cricketing authorities punishing crooked players and cannot be seen as merely sporting any longer. If, as we are being told, an international cricketer has gone onto the field of play knowing that his playing the game in an honest manner is going to put the safety of himself and his family in jeopardy, the game is dead. That should frighten anyone who truly cares about the game of cricket wherever it is played.

  • Comment number 65.

    oh dear, the daily mail has whipped up a minority of little ingurlanders to such a state where even the merest mention of the word "asylum" gets their grey matter buzzing with fury.

    I mean yeah, the story of young cricketers having their family being targeted by criminal organisations in order to throw match results pales into insignificance when compared to the story that a foreigner is seeking asylum!

  • Comment number 66.

    If it is established that his or his family's lives genuinely are in danger then of course he should be given asylum here.

    As an Englishman/ Brit I'm proud that our country has a reputation for being somewhere safe and fair. We should do our best to live up to this reputation and to maintain it.

    I feel very sorry for Haider, a young cricketer trying to make his way but who wasn't able to represent his country without being threatened. Hopefully there will be a silver lining to this dark situation and the ICC can finally get to the bottom of corruption in cricket.

  • Comment number 67.

    He is hardly seeking political asylum, he is simply being threatened by criminals, ergo his security should be provided by his own country. Unless his government is persecuting him or he is being harassed in his own country by folks the authorities cannot tackle (of neither which is the case), he really has no case for asylum.

  • Comment number 68.

    Kamana, I'm going to have a wild guess here, but I reckon you don't have the slightest clue about Refugee law, or what case may or may not be considered as special...

    Now what do you think about criminal organisations threatening players and their family for the sake of throwing matches?

  • Comment number 69.

    I started reading the comments, and only carried on reading because I wanted to see just how unpleasant, superior, heartless and gutless the Daily Mail / News of the World / Daily Express-type tabloid media had made us as a society.

    Fortunately, we're actually not too bad. Not for a while have I been prouder of my fellow British brethren.

    I am a British taxpayer, I contribute to this society, and nothing makes me prouder of it than our reputation as an asylum haven. Having the legal ability to claim asylum is one thing, occasionally allowing people refugee status is quite another and our willingness to help those most in need IS A GOOD THING!!

    The tabloid media's obsession with asylum seekers is one of the many issues which truly infuriates me; just how facile, simplistic and unnuanced an argument can we make?? "Well, even if they are being persecuted, why come here?"

    Thank you to everyone who added to the general consensus that OF COURSE, he would come here, that should the facts as reported be true, OF COURSE he should be granted asylum and that if he can never return home OF COURSE he should be allowed to ply his trade in county cricket.

    As I said, I'm proud of everyone who stemmed the tide of racist vitriol.

  • Comment number 70.

    What I find unbelievable is the attacks that "he has let Pakistan cricket down". Instead he should be praised for not bowing down to the demands to fix the match. Retiring when he has just started international cricket makes no sense unless there is real cause. Finally, if he has to go to England it tells of the fear in other places.

  • Comment number 71.

    He should have stayed in Dubai. It is safe. Why the need to go ot the UK? The ICC buildings are there! Sounds very dodgy! Did he have this planned before that Series? Was he waiting for someone to offer the match-fixing? Did this offer exist? Did this man at dinner exist? Where is his evidence? Why did he go to dinner on his own? Why did he tell his team management this? The hotel's security? Personally....I DONT BELIEVE THIS HAS HAPPENED!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    Soon Britain won't be a safe place to be. Haiden settles in London or wherever BUT it won't be hard for this Match-fixer guy and his associates to track him down and do him some damage in the UK. Only takes a call to some 'firm' in London. I don't think he's safe here as he is 'high-profile'. He could easy have a contract on his head. Remember...these people have alot of money at their disposal! I hope this doesnt happen BUT it could!

  • Comment number 73.

    I recall a few years back that 52 Ghanan's entered the British Open golf qualifying, 51 of them 'dissapearing' before the event. This keeper is talking rot to get asylum here now all the other immigration routes have been closed to Pakistan, a fialed state.

  • Comment number 74.

    Dazzini (71) smells a rat!

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.


  • Comment number 77.

    There are three elements of villainy here - the unholy alliance of the criminal gangs and those particularly ignorant excuses for Englishmen who think everyone who seeks asylum is a fraud are obvious villains.

    The other group are those who claim it's Haider who's let down Pakistan cricket. No it isn't, it's those who follow the example of the Head of the PCB, pulling the wool over their own eyes as they perpetually accuse everyone else of conspiracies, while the their players deal with a choice of corruption or intimidation unsupported and unbelieved.

    Why didn't Haider go to his team management or the PCB? the answer's in his original statement: "He said 'If you don't co-operate you will no longer be part of the team and we can make life very difficult for you.'". Not difficult to work out why trust may have been in short supply after that, is it?

  • Comment number 78.

    Asif Iqbal: "Dubai is a very safe environment. The ICC headquarters are there."

    David Bond: "During a trip to India in October, I spoke to people with connections to bookmakers, with many claiming Dubai was the nerve centre for an industry worth billions of pounds."

    Any connection between these two statements is of course purely coincidental.

  • Comment number 79.

    It seems that Haider and his family are being threatened to be killed, if he goes to authorities (team management, PCB) or to ICC. So the safest thing for him to do was, to escape to a safe place first and than talk to authorities and ICC. Now his life is in danger anyway, from Bookies or Taliban or whosoever.

    So all my sampthies go to him and I wish that he would sing and bring the whole story out.

    Pakistan cricket needs a big broom!

  • Comment number 80.

    Hi All!
    I am from Pakistan. After seeing all these comments positive & negative I thought I should post something.First of all I would like to tell you your country is really great and I respect UK a lot. I have lived there myslef for few years.Thanks to all who have posted positive comments about Haider but every body is entitled to express their views so no hard feelings. I would only like to tell you whats happening here in Pakistan and I am totally honest. Pakistani media and some senior pakistani cricketers are keep saying he has done all this drama to get UK asylum. Only God knows if this is true or not. There are lots of questions that need to be answered?? why he didn't inform any board member or dubai police or someone responsible, dubai has a good reputation in terms of safety. But majority of people here think that he has done all this drama to get UK asylum as Uk is considered soft target in gaining asylum and because he has been there before and he is aware of the law. One channel was saying he asked his uk friends before how to get permanet in Uk and they told him only way is to get asylum.People are also commenting that he is not such a big player who anybody would want to threaten. People have made pakistan won before in more sensational matter but nobody is threatened before.Now even his family members are saying him to get back to dubai a soon as possible and join Pakistan cricket team. Pakistani channel GEO is saying here that his drama is continuing. To tell you the truth and being 100% honest I think the same that he has done all this drama to get asylum. But a thorough investigation will clear all doubts. British police are now involved and I know their expertise, they will reach the bottom of the story and if he is genuine he will he hailed as a hero and if he is guilty he should be humiliated and deported back to pakistan. Thanks all for reading my comments.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.


    A suggestion:

    If you want people to read through your "sermon", you should avoid writing everything you intend to say in one long, monotonous paragraph.

    I can assure you that most of the commenters here will not have bothered to plough through your rambling epistle. I didn't!

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    This shows us that we should show some leniency to Asif, Amir and Butt too. They faced this sort of problem too! Now we know the truth!


  • Comment number 86.

    I feel bad for Pakistan. Good that Haider took a bold decision to show the world what's going on. To me, this issue seems very real and serious as we can not forget the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer in West Indies during world cup in 2007. Hope Pakistan cricket gets out of the mess soon.

  • Comment number 87.

    Nothing happened! He's making this up to get Asylum! Why cant I have my point of view Beeb?!

  • Comment number 88.

    I agree with #80 and the Pakistan Media and People!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    this an another example of a biased article. that's what majority of the english writers can do.
    they are always against pakistan

  • Comment number 90.

    Until Haiden has proof of these threats and of course this man offering money to fix a match....I don't believe him! Thats my opinion...LET ME HAVE IT!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    What a sad state of affairs that a country brimming with as much raw talent as Pakistan can't weed out the indiscipline and corruption to achieve something tangible despite the multiple reassurances by senior politicians. I have to think that the malaise is so deeply rooted by now that it just can't be ripped out. What a pity.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ Dazzini

    I find it interesting that you are incredibly sceptical about Haider's story in post 71 to the point where you say 'I don't believe this has happened'.

    And yet, in post 72, the very next one, you turn around and say that his life is in danger and that he is at much at risk in the UK as anywhere else.

    Now, do I need to point out the contradiction?

  • Comment number 94.

    #93: It's all hypothetical! There's a lot of 'ifs' and 'buts'. Personally I dont believe him. And if it is shown that he was lying he'd be in 'danger' of his life IN THE CONTEXT of he'd be in danger for his life coz HE LIED......understand the context fool!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    Far too many "ifs" in this whole sordid business: far too many "unknowns."

    Having read every post above, I agree in general that he should be assisted appropriately if he is under threat: that he should be applauded if he is exposing corruption in cricket: that the problem is not so much one of corruption among professional cricketers, as one of crime carried out by illegal cartels and betting-syndicates.

    The continuing saga is sickening. Thank heavens for the Ashes and women's cricket.

  • Comment number 96.

    #93: Tell me....where is his evidence that this event happenend??!! DO TELL!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    to #97,98 Dazzini, SportsFan.

    You're Obviously ignorant to South Africa, Australia, India, Sri Lanka involvement in recent history.
    Why not ban them? How about the Fixing Laden IPL too?

    Or do we suffer from selective reading?

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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