Zulqarnain Haider, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman, said that players like Umar Akmal, who bring shame to the sport, should be given a life ban. On Monday (April 27), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) handed the 29-year-old Akmal a three-year suspension for failing to report spot-fixing approaches made to him during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this season.
“No, it is not new 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 an ODI match against South Africa on November 2, 2010, at the Dubai Sports City (DSC). The Proteas won the game by two runs and Haider said that Akmal, who was carrying the drinks in that match, asked him to under-perform with the bat.
“It was a very crucial match, and when I was batting, Umar Akmal brought drinks for us and had told me to underperform. 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,” Haider stated.
In that game, Haider could score only 11 runs off nine balls with the help of two boundaries. “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 had told the PCB and the ICC anti-corruption officers about the incident.
The fear had engulfed Haider so much that he sought asylum in London, but returned to Lahore in 2011. On November 9, 2010, he announced his retirement from international cricket, a day after he flew to Dubai, claiming that he and his family were receiving death threats from match-fixers.