Zulqarnain Haider, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper who abandoned his squad while on tour in the UAE against South Africa, has revealed he is returning to his homeland after receiving assurances over his future safety from the government.
Haider left the Pakistan squad on the morning of the fifth one-day international (ODI) against South Africa in Dubai in November and went on to claim he had been the subject of death threats from a match-fixing ring.
He duly set about claiming asylum in the United Kingdom but has cancelled that application and is now set to return home.
“I received assurances from interior minister Rehman Malik and also from the Pakistan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, regarding my safety on my return to Pakistan,” he told www.PakPassion.net.
“They gave me their solemn word that my family and I would be safe in Pakistan and I would like to convey my gratitude to both of them and the government of Pakistan for its assurances to me and my family.”
As for his future, Haider remains in international retirement but could be open to playing first-class cricket in Pakistan, while Lashings, the English charity XI, have also made him an offer for the 2011 season.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old, who scored 88 on his Test debut against England last summer, is concerned his experiences will prevent other players from going public with concerns over corruption.
“Pakistan cricket and indeed world cricket needs to change for the better,” he said. “I will sit down with the authorities and give them my opinions on what can be done to change Pakistan cricket regarding fixing.
“(But) the whole experience over the past few months, since I walked out on the Pakistan team in the UAE, has been a real eye-opener for me.
“The hardest thing for me to grasp is that problems are created for you and your family if you speak out against those who are corrupt.
“You don’t get the help and support from within cricketing circles that one would expect and that is why a lot of cricketers are turning a blind eye to corruption in cricket — no player will report fixing in future.”