ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 28 – Runaway wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider Thursday backed Pakistan's fight against corruption after bookmakers confessed to making the death threats which prompted him to spend months in self-exile.
Haider hoped steps taken by the International Cricket (ICC), Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Pakistan’s government would curb match and spot-fixing, and said he supported the efforts even if it damaged his career.
"I am satisfied that the ongoing fight against corruption in cricket will bear positive results," Haider, 25, told AFP by telephone. "I put my career on line and still don’t bother if it continues to suffer."
Haider returned to Pakistan Monday, after fleeing an international one-day series in United Arab Emirates last November because of death threats, and seeking political asylum in Britain.
On Wednesday, Pakistan police said bookmakers among eight arrested in the city of Sialkot had admitted threatening Haider.
The wicketkeeper, who is still awaiting security clearance to return to his home city of Lahore, said the arrests have given him more confidence.
"The kind of confidence given to me by the government has brought me back and I am happy that they are taking serious steps," said Haider.
"The image of Pakistan cricket has been badly hurt by match-fixing and this continues to haunt it after every few months, but now I hope that with the serious steps and actions a time will come when our cricket becomes clean."
Pakistan cricket has been rocked by fixing controversies since 1995 when Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh alleged then captain Salim Malik offered them bribes to underperform during a tour to Pakistan.
Last year Pakistan’s tour of England was marred by a sensational spot-fixing scandal, ending in lengthy bans for three of their key players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.
"Pakistan cricket needs to get respect which it will get," said Haider. The wicketkeeper, who earlier announced his retirement from international cricket, said he would soon clarify his position with the PCB.