Zulqarnain Haider on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket within three months of his Test debut after sensationally deserting his team due to death threats for refusing to fix matches.
The 24-year-old wicketkeeper, who has played just one Test, four ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals, also sought political asylum in England after dumping his team in the middle of the just-concluded ODI series against South Africa in the UAE.
“My family is still getting threats. I have decided to retire because there is lot of pressure on me and I cannot take it,” Haider told ‘Geo News’ from London after mysteriously fleeing from Dubai ahead of the fifth ODI against South Africa on Monday.
“I will be sending a letter to the PCB to inform them about my decision to retire,” he said.
Haider claims that he received death threats for refusing to fix the fourth ODI in the series against South Africa.
Haider’s only Test appearance came against England in August when he scored an impressive 88 in the second innings.
The situation has reportedly also left the ICC “disturbed” as the governing body feels the wicketkeeper has been targetted by “criminals behind betting operations".
“We are really concerned and disturbed by what has happened, he is clearly frightened or seriously worried and there is no suggestion that he is guilty of anything except producing a brilliant performance to help his team win a game,” a newspaper in London quoted an ICC source as saying.
“The really disgusting thing is that criminals behind betting operations have targeted players’ families in the past. The PCB is moving heaven and earth to try and find him and help him and his family,” the source added.
The young stumper, who hit the winning runs in the fourth ODI against South Africa on Sunday, met immigration officials at the Heathrow airport for close to five hours last night.
“I understand there is a rule in Britain that if you are right and if you are not a criminal, then they always protect you,” he said.
Haider said he received a message asking him to be a part of a match-fixing conspiracy ahead of the fourth one-dayer but refused to reveal the identity of the person who approached him.
“I was approached by one person who asked me to fix the fourth and fifth match and there would be problem for me if I did not do it,” Haider said.