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Haider to head back to Pakistan, faces PCB grilling

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2011 14:48 IST

PTI
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Runaway Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has withdrawn his application for asylum in Britain and will return home on April 24 to be grilled by the Cricket Board for "indiscipline and misconduct."

After a meeting with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik in London, Haider announced that he has withdrawn his application for asylum in the United Kingdom and would be returning home to join his family.

"He committed several violations of his players contract and the board's code of ethics for players and he will first have to appear before the PCB disciplinary and integrity committees before any decision can be made on allowing him back into the national fold and to play domestic cricket," a board official said. Haider shook Pakistan cricket in November last year when the national team was playing a one-day series with South Africa in Dubai.

Haider fled from the team hotel hours before a match and flew to London where he claimed asylum insisting he had left the team without informing the management as he was threatened by a man who wanted him to fix the one-day series. Haider later claimed that there were corrupt elements in the national team and he would soon expose them publicly.

A fact-finding committee of the PCB, after investigating the entire episode, said in its report that there was reasonable ground to conclude that Haider was not a mentally stable person and had taken an abrupt decision. Haider claimed he would sue the PCB for its findings and also for holding back his payments but didn't carry out the threat.

The wicketkeeper suffered a bigger blow to his chances of getting asylum in the UK when his wife and children had their visas cancelled by the British High Commission in Islamabad and they were stopped from boarding a flight to London to join him. "Rehman Malik met Haider in London and told him in clear terms that there were slim chances of his application for asylum in the UK being granted by the British home office and also assured him all security in Pakistan if he returned home," one source close to the keeper said.

Haider also confirmed from London that he had decided to return this week to Islamabad after the assurances given by Rehman Malik. "It has been six months since I saw my wife and children and I want to return home quickly and I am ready to face any inquiry from the board.

I want to be given a chance top play domestic cricket and for the national team again," he said. The source said that Malik had assured Haider the government would help him in sorting out his case with the Board. Haider said he had already sent a letter to the British interior secretary informing him that he was officially withdrawing his application for asylum.