Runaway wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider on Thursday backed Pakistan’s fight against corruption after bookmakers confessed to making the death threats which prompted him to spend months in self-exile.
Haider said he hopes steps taken by the International Cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan’s government would curb match- and spot-fixing, measures he supports even if they damage his career.
“I am satisfied that the ongoing fight against corruption in cricket will bear positive results,” Haider, 25, told AFP. “I put my career on the line and still don’t bother if it continues to suffer.”
Haider returned to Pakistan on Monday after fleeing an ODI series in the United Arab Emirates last November because of death threats.
On Wednesday, Pakistan police said bookmakers among eight arrested in Sialkot had admitted to threatening Haider.
The wicketkeeper, who is still awaiting security clearance to return to his home city of Lahore, said the arrests have given him more confidence.
“The kind of confidence given to me by the government has brought me back and I am happy that they are taking serious steps,” said Haider.
“The image of Pakistan cricket has been badly hurt by match-fixing and this continues to haunt it after every few months, but now I hope that with the serious steps and actions a time will come when our cricket becomes clean.”
Pakistan cricket has been rocked by fixing controversies since 1995, when Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh alleged then captain Salim Malik offered them bribes to underperform during a tour to Pakistan.
Last year Pakistan’s tour of England was marred by a sensational spot-fixing scandal, ending in lengthy bans for three of their key players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
“Pakistan cricket needs to get respect, which it will get,” added Haider. The wicketkeeper, who earlier announced his retirement from international cricket, said he would soon clarify his position with the PCB. Cricket365