The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 10 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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A matter of raised eyebrows...

Calcutta:That Zulqarnain Haider chose not to take anybody into confidence before fleeing Dubai, on Monday, has raised eyebrows across the world of cricket.

The gifted 24-year-old, who made an impressive Test debut as recently as August, neither kept the Pakistan team management nor the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) in the loop.

Strangely, despite death threats, Haider didn't even go to the Dubai police. Instead, he boarded an Emirates flight for the nearly eight-hour journey to London.

Haider had his reasons, but his lack of faith in the authorities, be it within or outside, has given the drama a pointed twist. Clearly, he quite simply chose not to trust anybody.

But why?

Was it because Haider, known to be above board, actually felt he ran a bigger risk by opening up before men who may themselves have, in one way or the other, been compromised?

Investigators must probe this angle, too. Given the fixers’ reach, after all, anything is possible.

According to The Telegraph’s sources in Pakistan, there was more to Haider being rested (and sent home from England) after such a fine Test debut, than his having suffered a hairline fracture on a finger.

In any case, a player taking the field with a hairline fracture is definitely not unheard of.

“Haider was keen to continue playing, but was told he couldn’t... That paved the way for the return of the controversial Kamran Akmal... Haider, for all intents and purposes, paid the price for being clean and not warming up to fixers,” is how one source put it.

Obviously, it didn’t help the fixers’ cause if the ’keeper refused to come on board.

For the record, Salman Butt, caught in the spot-fixing scandal, was then the Pakistan captain. Today, he faces a life ban.

Investigations are on, but what’s confirmed is that the ACSU has failed yet again. Worse, this time on home turf, as the world body is headquartered in the glitzy Emirate.

Spot-fixing, death threats... Well, what next?

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