Haider says he has given ICC proof of plot to fix matches

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The Independent Online

Zulqarnain Haider, the Pakistan wicketkeeper who has applied for asylum in the UK, says he has handed over two letters to the ICC's anti-corruption unit that were given to him in Dubai by third parties seeking to fix two one-day internationals against South Africa.

Haider yesterday had his first contact with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who have assured him they will provide the 24-year-old with "all assistance and co-operation". On Wednesday, the PCB suspended his central contract before speaking with him.

But Haider underlined that he will not be returning to his homeland because he fears for his own safety. "I told [them] I was genuinely concerned about the threats given to me for not getting involved in any racket to fix matches," he said. "When a prime minister like Benazir Bhutto could not be safe in Pakistan, I am just an ordinary cricketer. I am not stupid that I should give up my promising cricket career and leave my country to come to London. I did it for a reason and I feel safe in London."

Haider said that he would co-operate fully with the ICC. "I will not hold anything back from them," he said. But yesterday Tim May, the former Australia Test player who heads the international players' union, claimed that many cricketers are hesitant to report illegal approaches or concerns over corruption to the sport's governing body as they do not trust them.

May told the BBC: "They fear the confidential nature of them reporting it will be breached. This problem is not an issue that's just confined to Haider. In the past, players have gone to the anti-corruption unit and somewhere details of their talks with the anti-corruption has reached the media. Whether those leaks have come from the ICC or whatever, it still gives the players the question over whether they can trust the ICC's anti-corruption unit. We've said to the ICC we need to get the reporting processes here streamlined far better than what they are at the moment."

Haider yesterday met with the Pakistan High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, for the first time, and was promised legal assistance if required.

Pakistan today begin the first of a two-Test series against South Africa in Dubai.