Zulqarnain did the right thing

Zulqarnain Haider left a life of potential riches as an international cricketer on a principled stand of integrity.

Waqqas Iftikhar November 11, 2010
Zulqarnain Haider has finally made it to the UK. This is a man who left a life of potential riches as an international cricketer on a principled stand of integrity. He was not ready to compromise his honesty and patriotism for a pile of money.

He is not that great a batsman for One Day Internationals (ODI’s) anyway, so he could have easily taken the money and made a little less runs, dropped a stumping or two, or a run-out (I am looking at you Akmal, Kamran) and we would have been none the wiser.

Taking the high road

Instead, he has taken the high road (the road that most of us, including me, would cynically call ‘idealistic’) but he is doing it well. Just like he did in that hopeless situation at Headingley.

He donated half of his first test match earnings to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital. When he was suspiciously sent back from the England tour, he spent time volunteering for flood victims. He might not be the most talented keeper to play for Pakistan but he has got ‘heart’as the Americans like to call it.

You know he plays for the team by the way he reacts to each wicket, and cheers each run. He is in the real sense of the word ‘a team player’. It must have been something serious which prompted him to leave his team with nothing but a few hundred pounds, a backpack, a T-shirt and jeans to venture into the November cold of London. Instead of sympathy from former board officials, and ex-cricketers, he is earning scorn.

Unnecessary criticism

Tauqir Zia called his flight to safety ‘childish’, that paragon of non-fixing virtue (sarcasm intended), Asif Iqbal termed his actions ‘stupid’ and that he had been ‘unpatriotic by virtue of fleeing’.

The government though, tops everything said and done, with Minister for Sports Mr Ijaz Jakhrani, saying that if Zulqarnain was such a coward then he should not have played cricket at all. What should he have done instead, Mr Minister? Reported it to the management?

We all know how trustworthy and ‘on-the-ball’ they are – if a player could weasel out his passport from them on a pretext, a gangbanger for the bookies mafia could easily have used them to get to Zulqarnain – then we would have had another ‘Woolmer’ on our hands. There would have been a body flown back, pictures of the family with Rahman Malik, Salman Taseer, and Shahbaz Sharif crying crocodile tears. At least this way, he is still alive, this way there is still a chance he might be able to blow the lid off this whole cesspool of corruption that is Pakistan cricket.
WRITTEN BY:
Waqqas Iftikhar An economist who works in a foreign bank in Karachi. He writes about sports.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (27)

Osama J Malik | 9 years ago | Reply | Recommend ''At least this way, he is still alive, this way there is still a chance he might be able to blow the lid off this whole cesspool of corruption that is Pakistan cricket.'' Remember the last time a cricketer tried to blow the lid off this whole cesspool? Incidentally he was also a very gifted wicketkeeper. The poor chap was kicked out of the team and his career was considerably shortened. He was only selected on rarest of occaisons. Now that man has left Pakistan and started coaching Afghanistan(BTW FYI that very Afghanistan team coached by that whistleblower beat the Pakistan team at the Asian Games semifinal. Fishy Fishy).
aman | 9 years ago | Reply | Recommend Those of you condemning Haider consider this. The team has a history of match fixing by groups of players. He doesnt know who to trust. He won you the last ODI by holding his nerve against South Africans. ( Somehow the Captain Afridi did not say a word about his performance in the speech afterwards) , Haider s passion for Pakistan and Victory was clear from his celebrations. How on earth can a player like that can turn from someone who has fought hard for a place in the National side to give it all up in 24 hours. Something serious has happened. IT made him think of his life and his loved ones. He cannot trust anyone in a team where the last skipper is banned for spot fixing. He doesnt know who to turn too. Perhaps the officials are in it too. Maybe he spoiled it for far too many peoiple. We shall never know. Had he been corrupt he would have shut up and played ball. Instead he took the harder decision and walked away.
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