Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider who hurriedly left the UAE for the UK and announced his retirement from international cricket over threats he claims to have received, now says that he was threatened even while playing in Pakistan's domestic circuit.
Speaking to reporters, Haider said he had been directed to include certain players in his Lahore Eagles team and drop others. "Yes I have got threats that I should play so and so player, or not play that player,'' he said.
Haider's claims have underlined a match between the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and the Lahore Eagles during the Royal Bank of Scotland Cup in 2008-09. Haider was demoted from captain ahead of that match, which NBP needed to win comprehensively to better their net run-rate and qualify for the semi-final.
Batting first, Lahore were dismissed for 122 in 40.3 overs with Haider only managing a duck. Then NBP chased down the target with all wickets intact in only 6.1 overs. Salman Butt, who is currently provisionally suspended by the ICC on allegations of spot-fixing, scored 92 off 25 balls, biffing 16 fours and four sixes. One of Lahore's bowlers, the debutant Usman Sarwar, conceded 78 runs in three overs. There were media reports and questions raised over the odd result but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it had found nothing suspicious about the match.