Haider looks beyond Lahore after being ignored by hometown


Zulqarnain Haider is searching for a team to play in the next month’s National T20 Championship after beign ignored by both the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) teams.
The LCCA announced the two squads on Tuesday with Test players Abdul Razzaq and Taufeeq Umar as the captains, but didn’t name controversial stumper Zulqarnain in either team.
Brothers, Kamran and Adnan Akmal have been named as the wicket-keepers in the Lahore teams.
“It is disappointing to not be considered in either of the two Lahore teams because this is my home region and if they don’t play me here, then who will select me,” Haider complained.
“I want to impress the national selectors and make a comeback, but Lahore has ignored me. So now the only option I have is to try to play for some other association in the National T20 championship.”
LCCA President Khawaja Nadeem said only those players were considered and selected in the Lahore teams who have played cricket in the last one year at domestic and international levels.
“Since Haider has not played any cricket since last November we didn’t consider him,” Nadeem explained.
But Haider vowed to fightback and impress the selectors.
“It is a long domestic season and I know I will get a chance with some regional or departmental team soon and I know I can impress because there is lot of cricket left in me and the controversy is behind me now,” he said.
Haider impressed many with his cricket talents last year in England when he scored 88 runs on his Test debut and also kept wickets competently.
The enigmatic keeper is pinning for a comeback to the national team by performing well in the domestic season, which starts next month but the biggest issue for him is to find a team which will play him as Haider’s reputation has been dented after his fiasco last year.
The keeper fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai last November and flew to London where he sought asylum claiming he was under threat from a bookmaker who had told him to fix matches of the one-day series against South Africa but he refused.
Haider who played in the series and did well also claimed his life was in danger in Pakistan and he fled as he didn’t trust anyone in the Pakistan team.
After spending some six months in London, waiting for his asylum application to be processed, he finally returned home after receiving assurances by Interior Minister Rehman Malik that he would be provided full security in Pakistan.
Malik is said to have also used his influence to get the Pakistan Cricket Board to fine Haider just Rs 5 lakh rupees for breaching the code of conduct which paved the way for the Board to clear him to resume playing cricket.