Pak wicketkeeper goes missing in Dubai ahead of final ODI
Pakistan cricket was today rocked by another major controversy when their young wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider went missing from the team hotel hours before the fifth and final One-day International against South Africa.cricket Updated: May 21, 2012 14:52 IST
Pakistan cricket was on Monday rocked by another major controversy when their young wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider went missing from the team hotel hours before the fifth and final One-day International against South Africa.
Pakistan manager, Intikhab Alam told Geo News that he could confirm that Haider had not come to the ground with the team for the match.
"I can't comment anymore on this issue right now," he said.
But the team's liaison officer, Shah Afridi said that when they went to call the keeper as the team was preparing to leave for the ground, he was not present in his room at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
The keeper was last seen leaving the hotel at around 6 in the morning by the team's assistant manager, Shahid Aslam.
The mystery surrounding Haider further compounded when a cryptic message posted on his facebook profile said, "leaving Pakistan cricket because get bad msg fr 1 man fr lose the match in last game."
A Geo News correspondent also received a similar message from Haider's mobile number which said he was "leaving cricket as someone is threatening him."
The SMS received on correspondent Sohail Imran's mobile phone said, "Match haar jao (Lose match)."
Later the wicket-keeper informed Geo News through another SMS that he was leaving for England and that security should be provided to his family in Lahore.
The media manager of the Pakistan board, Nadeem Sarwar said Haider had obtained his passport from the team management a few days back, saying he had some urgent work with it.
Haider shone in the fourth match against South Africa two days back, hitting the winning stroke and scoring an unbeaten 19 to help his team level the five-match series 2-2.
The Pakistan team management in view of Haider's absence made three changes in the squad for the final match, surprisingly bringing in senior batsman Muhammad Yousuf, Umar Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan in place of Haider, Asad Shafiq and Imran Farhat.
Geo News reported that security police had reached the team hotel and was investigating the matter with the Chairman of the Pakistan Board, Ijaz Butt also present in the hotel.
Zulqarnain's brother, Reza confirmed that when he last spoke to his younger brother he had mentioned that he was getting some threatening messages from an unknown person.
"He was worried and concerned about himself and his family's safety," Reza said.
He said Zulqarnain had informed that he started getting messages before the fourth match that Pakistan won to level the series 2-2.
Nadeem Sarwar told reporters that the team management had got in touch with the Dubai police and the ICC anti-corruption unit to find out if Zulqarnain had actually left the country from some airport for England.
Meanwhile, a senior police official, Rana Faisal of the Lahore police said that although the family of the wicketkeeper has not made any official complaint about getting any threatening messages but security was being provided at their home.