Making his first public comment since fleeing the UAE for London on Monday, Pakistani wicketkeepr Zulqarnain Haider stated that he had indeed received threats from unidentified people after his side's one-wicket win over South Africa in the fourth ODI in Dubai and was told to rig the 5th match.
In a conversation with reporters, Haider was guarded about the turn of events in the previous 24 hours, but seemed to imply that he had received some kind of protection from British authorities. It is believed that he was in the custody of Heathrow officials for almost four hours before shifting to an undisclosed location.
"The fourth ODI, the things I was told to do I didn't, and the fifth ODI, what they wanted done I didn't do," Haider said. "That is why I did what seemed right to me and I came here. I can't tell what kind of threats I received to the country because my family is still in Pakistan."
On being asked about the nature of the threats and whether he had any inkling whom they may have come from, Haider declined to comment further. He merely said, "I am not accusing anyone of being a match-fixer. I only got one guy telling me that if you can't do this or that, there will be problems, or fix the fourth of fifth ODI. I don't want to say who it is, neither do I know so much about who it is. I have only played two-three ODIs."
Haider additionally mentioned that he retrieved his passport from the team management on the pretext of buying a SIM card for his mobile and left on Monday morning. Questions have been raised by a number of former players and board officials themselves about why he didn't approach the board first to report the threats, as is required by the anti-corruption code of conduct. "I felt if I told them, it would get worse for me and my family so I thought to come here. I know about British rules as I have been coming here for the last nine to ten years. They protect you."
Though he didn't confirm that he had been seeking asylum in the UK, he did indicate that he was seeking some form of protective status. "I cannot say where I am. I am not in a detention centre. Immigration authorities helped me a lot. The British government is such that if you are on the right path, they will protect you."
It is understood that PCB weighed various options concerning the matter, including contacting the high commission in the UK and asking them to offer Haider protection. This suggestion, however, was shot down. Haider's family in Lahore said he has not been in contact with it since his arrival in the UK.
The 24-year-old Haider also told reporters that he would be retiring from international cricket.