Haider warns of match-fixing network

Night_Hawk

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Haider warns of match-fixing network
AP
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Pakistan cricket wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider talks to The Associated Press in London, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. Haider says a network of bookies working to fix matches has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust in international cricket. - AP Photo

LONDON: A network of bookmakers trying to fix matches has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust in international cricket, Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.
Haider fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai in secrecy on Monday and flew to London to seek asylum, claiming he received death threats to lose matches against South Africa.
Haider told the AP that international cricket feels dangerous and is plagued by a big mafia working to corrupt the sport.
The 24-year-old Haider said he prayed at his mothers graveside for protection when he was selected for the current international series because he feared bad people hovered around the team.
Haider said he was approached by an unknown man in Dubai two or three days before the fourth one-day international against South Africa.
I was going for dinner at a restaurant, was within walking distance from the hotel, Haider said. The man stopped me. I feel two or three others were around him.
He said the threat was delivered coolly.
He just talked normally, Haider said. He talked in Urdu, but I cant recognize his accent.
Haider said the man was dressed in dark trousers and shirt, with a dark complexion and was clean shaven.
He spoke calmly. He wasnt angry or shouting and I just listened. He said if you work with us we will give you a lot of money and if you go back to Pakistan we will kill you and we will kill your family.
Haider said he understood that to mean he should try to lose the fourth and fifth ODIs.

Haider was in a position to do just that when he came in to bat, but hit the winning runs as Pakistan claimed a one-wicket victory in the fourth match.
The purpose of that talk was to disturb me, he said. I was not planning to make the runs before the match.
Haider said the threats made the match a difficult experience.
It was a crucial time when I went in (to bat). I was hoping the team would lose normally so maybe they (the match-fixers) would be happy (without me doing anything).
But when I go in it was a crucial time and I just performed at 150 percent for my team, my nation, my respect and my family.
When you see the first two or three matches, I was very energetic, but in the fourth ODI match you will see my expressions. I was very disturbed at that time. I felt very bad that day.
Haider said he was not offered any specific sums.
Haider defended his decision not to seek help from his teammates or management instead of leaving the camp.
I didnt want to involve them in this problem. I took the stakes on my shoulders. In that situation I dont want to trust anyone. Theres a big mafia all over the world of bookies trying to fix matches.
Haider said the scandal surrounding match fixing in the Pakistan camp during the tour of England earlier this year added to his fears when he was approached in Dubai.
In the summer tour many people talked about it and the ICC say many people are involved in that, so it was very difficult for me. The news said maybe others were involved, so I didnt know who to trust.
I heard it was a very common thing now to approach players. When I know I was selected for matches with South Africa, I went to my mothers graveside to be safe from that mafia of bad people. It (cricket) feels dangerous.
Haider said he had been approached before to fix matches.
When I was captain of Lahore two years ago, I was threatened to pick a player in the starting 11 and if I didnt do that I would be abducted and killed. The next day I talked with my whole team and I just told them if anybody calls about any player they will not be picked. No discussion.
Haider said that situation frightened him less because there is less money in domestic cricket.
He was subsequently stripped of the Lahore captaincy and played in a season-ending match in March 2009 with little-known Usman Sarwar, who conceded 78 runs in three overs as National Banks Salman Butt hit an astonishing 92 off 25 balls.
Butt was one of the three players arrested and under investigation for allegedly agreeing to fix spot betting markets against England.
I think that was the reason I was removed from the captaincy was because I didnt want to fix players, Haider said, adding with a shrug: But Salman Butt, he batted well.
Haider scored an impressive 88 in the first match against England but was later sent home with a finger injury. Haider was unhappy with the decision.
It was a little injury, he said, with a smile. It was internal politics, I think
Haider said it was the ICCs job to clamp down on match-fixing.
They need to tape players phones and check the players accounts around the world and where that money comes from, he said.
Haider is hoping his family can get visas to join him in England in the coming months, if he is allowed to stay. His next asylum interview is on Dec 10. AP
 
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