Umar Akmal had told me to underperform in SA match: Zulqarnain Haider

By: Bipin Dani      Published: 03:21 PM, 30 Apr, 2020
Umar Akmal had told me to underperform in SA match: Zulqarnain Haider

Umar Akmal's three-year suspension for not reporting the approach by the bookies has not surprised the former Pakistani wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider.

"No, it is not news to me. I am not at all surprised", he said over telephone from Lahore. "In fact, these players should be banned for life since long. This I have been telling with my experience".

He said despite scoring a record-breaking innings he had been sent back home from England because of these corrupt players because of only a minor injury.

Narrating the years-old incident, he recalled the 3rd ODI against South Africa (November 2, 2010) at the Dubai Sports City (DSC): "It was a very crucial match and when I was batting, Umar Akmal brought drinks for us and had told me to underperform. His clear words were: ‘Don't bat efficiently. Play a normal game.’ I had then clearly told him to only perform his drinks man duty."

Zulqarnain said Umar Akmal reported the incident to the-the then head coach Waqar Younis that I had asked him to do his drink man duty.

“After the match, Waqar called me in his room and asked me why I said such a thing to Umar. When I told him the whole incident that how Umar asked me to underperform, Waqar did not say anything and told me not to say such drink man duty type comments again and asked me to leave.”

“Waqar took up the matter of little importance (comments) efficiently but failed to take up the matter of real grave concern,” he added.

“He said in the night two people met him in the hotel parking where they threatened him either to work along with them or they will kill me and my whole family. I did not give them any importance and went to the restaurant to have my dinner,” he recalled.

"The pressure was too much on me and I was being threatened for the next game also. I could not bear this (pressure) and had to run away to England thereafter", the wicket-keeper, who was 24 then, added. "On my return from England, I did tell all these to the PCB and the ICC anti-corruption officers. Even today also, I am prepared to depose before them", he said.

Zulqarnain advised the players to work hard and play with honesty as it was the only path towards success. He said he had a dream to play for Pakistan which has fulfilled and now he has a dream to win a World Cup for the team. “If I get a chance I will ensure to win the World Cup for Pakistan and after that, I would quit all type of cricket,’ he said.