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November 13, 2010

‘Zulqarnain is as stupid as Yasir Hameed’


November 13, 2010

KARACHI: It was ‘sheer stupidity’ that forced Zulqarnain Haider to abandon the Pakistan team in Dubai, a senior teammate of the young wicketkeeper told ‘The News’ on Friday.
The Pakistan team player, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, compared Zulqarnain with Yasir Hameed — another national cricketer who was involved in a major controversy last summer — saying that both of them don’t have the ‘brains required to play international cricket’.
“By the time this issue is resolved, people would be saying that Zulqarnain has committed an act of stupidity similar to what Yasir Hameed did a few months back,” said the player. “Both Zulqarnain and Yasir are similar characters. They lack the brains required to play international cricket,” he added.
Last September, Yasir Hameed allegedly told a British tabloid that many of his teammates were involved in match-fixing. The Test batsman later denied it but only after his interview added fire to a spot-fixing scandal involving three leading Pakistan cricketers — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
Zulqarnain, 24, fled to London on Monday morning just hours before Pakistan were scheduled to play their ODI series decider against South Africa in Dubai. The wicketkeeper said that he took this extreme step after receiving death threats from match-fixers.
“If I or anybody else in the team will receive any threats, we will just go to the team management and tell them about it,” said the player. “That’s what any reasonable person would do. But Zulqarnain acted in an insane manner by running away from the team.”
There have been several conspiracy theories since Zulqarnain escaped from the team hotel and later surfaced in London.
Some suggest that the player did talk about the threats with some of his colleagues but decided to flee after failing to get any support from them.
“It’s ridiculous to suggest anything like it,” said the senior player. “I

can say for sure that he didn’t tell anybody in the team about it. He didn’t even go to Abdul Razzaq with whom he has played at the club level in Lahore. Zulqarnain is quite close to Razzaq could have confided in him but he didn’t.”
Recent reports have claimed that the team management had decided to drop Zulqarnain before the fifth One-day International, suggesting that the move could have prompted the player to flee from Dubai.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” said the senior player. “I mean you cannot drop a player who has just won you a close match,” he added referring to Zulqarnain’s match-winning cameo — an unbeaten 19 — in the fourth ODI against South Africa that helped Pakistan to level the series 2-2. “According to my information, Zulqarnain was very much a part of the playing eleven for the final match and was later replaced by Umar Akmal as the team’s wicketkeeper because of his own decision to run away.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally managed to get in touch with Zulqarnain.
Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, spoke with the player on Thursday. He also called up Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s high commissioner to Britain. Hasan had earlier met with Zulqarnain in London.
Television reports claimed that Butt assured Zulqarnain of PCB’s full support but sources said that the chairman just wanted to listen to his side of the story.
Sources told ‘The News’ that senior PCB officials remain skeptical about Zulqarnain’s motives.
Taffazul Rizvi, the PCB’s legal advisor, asked why Zulqarnain waited until Monday before deciding to flee, four days after the alleged threat was delivered.
“In our culture, when are you worried about your family’s safety, you run to their side,” Taffazul was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph. “Whereas he has run to a different country,” he added.

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