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‘He brought drinks for us and told me to underperform’ – Zulqarnain Haider calls for Umar Akmal’s life-ban

Haider remembered the time when he decided to retire from international cricket after receiving death threats from match-fixers.

Zulqarnain Haider and Umar Akmal
Zulqarnain Haider and Umar Akmal. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Zulqarnain Haider, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper batsman, said that cricketers like Umar Akmal, who bring shame to the sport, should be given a life ban. Earlier, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) handed the 29-year-old Akmal a three-year suspension after he was charged for breaching Article 2.4.4 of PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code.

Back in February, he was provisionally suspended and was barred from playing in the 2020 Pakistan Super League (PSL). The PCB had sent him a show cause notice to which he had to reply until March 31. However, he decided not to challenge it.

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Umar Akmal’s clear words were don’t bat efficiently

“No, it is not news to me. I am not at all surprised. In fact, these players should be banned for life. This I have been telling with my experience,” Haider was quoted as saying in BDcrictime.

Talking about Akmal, Haider turned back the clock to a match against South Africa on November 2, 2010 at the Dubai Sports City (DSC). The Proteas won the game by a couple of runs and Haider said that Akmal, who was the drinks-man, asked him to under-perform with the bat.

“It was a very crucial match (South Africa won the match by two) and when I was batting, Umar Akmal brought drinks for us and had told me to under-perform. His clear words were don’t bat efficiently. I had then clearly told him to only perform his drinks man duty. The matter was also brought to the team management after the match,” he stated.

In that game, Haider scored 11 runs off nine balls with a couple of fours. “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,” he added. After returning from England, Haider mentioned that he told the PCB and the ICC anti-corruption officers about it.

The fear had engulfed Haider to such an extent that he sought asylum in London, but came back to Pakistan in 2011. On November 9, 2010, he announced his retirement from international cricket, a day after he fled Dubai, claiming that he was receiving threats from match-fixers.

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