PCB probe panel raises questions on Zulqarnain’s claims

By Omar Khalid, IANS
Friday, December 24, 2010

KARACHI - A probe carried out by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has raised a big question mark on the credibility of runway wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, describing him as a weak and nervous man.

According to a report in Friday’s Dawn newspaper, a fact-finding committee set-up by the PCB to look into the mysterious episode of Haider, has found ‘ambiguity’ in the various statements the cricketer has smade over the past few weeks but has failed to reach any conclusion about the ‘motives’ which led to his sudden exit from the team.

A three-member PCB committee comprising newly-appointed Chief Operations Officer Subhan Ahmed, team manager Intikhab Alam and security manager Khawaja Najam in its seven-page report has failed to reach a conclusion as to what went wrong with Zulqarnain, who finished his career by making unfounded allegations against some unnamed people in Dubai during the Pakistan-South Africa one-day international series.

The committee found ambiguity in the whole drama and stated in its report: “It was quite strange because Dubai is as safe a place as UK (perhaps safer), but Zulqarnain decided to travel to the UK rather than staying in Dubai or travelling to homeland Pakistan.”

“It is also quite strange that in the presence of a full-time security manager of the team and the other PCB officials, Zulqarnain deemed it appropriate to approach the media rather than the PCB, which is his employer,” it added.

The PCB probe committee report adds: “Before the 4th ODI against South Africa, when Zulqarnain was taking a stroll in the parking area of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dubai, he met a person who said to him that he must do what he was told to do in cricket or else he and his family would be killed, but he did not recognise the individual.”

“Pakistan won the 4th ODI against South Africa but later, he (Zulqarnain) saw a note in his room written on the hotel notepad which contained some money figures and the names of few females which the cricketer later handed to the Scotland Yard police. The Scotland Yard has provided the 24-year-old player with a tracking device and he is shadowed by the sleuths everywhere.”

The report, according to the paper’s source, claims: “In view of some support staff of the team, Zulqarnain is a case of complex personality and is someone who can be easily convinced into believing whatever is said to him. He is also stated to be a weak, nervous person.”

While the probe report confirms that Zulqarnain had approached the team management for the passport for purchasing a mobile SIM on the eve of the 4th ODI, it shies away from acknowledging the fact that the team management was wrong in handing over the passport to the wicket-keeper besides failing to stop him when he was making an exit from the hotel.

According to the report, Zulqarnain was seen walking out of his hotel room witch a back-pack on the morning of November 8, a few hours ahead of the last ODI at around 7.00 a.m., by the team’s assistant manager Shahid Aslam and batsman Younis Khan.

“When the wicket-keeper was asked where he was headed to, he said that he had to meet some relatives in the city. Later, the PCB had also used their sources within the UAE immigration department to get the travelling data of the deserted cricketer,” the report concluded.

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