“Troubled players’ messiah” English village team keen to recruit Pak keeper Zulqarnain

November 12th, 2010 - 3:23 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 12 (ANI): An English village cricket team- famous for offering support to players with off-field problems- has expressed its desire to recruit the troubled Pakistani wicketkeeper, Zulqarnain Haider, for the 2011 season.

After hearing of Zulqarnain’s decision to seek asylum in the United Kingdom, Lashings World XI Chairman David Folb extended ‘an open invitation’ to the Pakistani cricketer on Thursday to get in touch with the Kent-based club.

“We’d love to have him in the team. We’ve been trying to contact him, via text, phone and e-mail and our door is always open to him,” Folb said on the club’s website.

“At Lashings we have a long and proud tradition of offering help to those in need,” he added.

The village cricket team has previously recruited Rashid Latif, another Pakistan wicketkeeper who resisted match-fixing, and Henry Olonga, a Zimbabwean cricketer who protested against the political regime of Robert Mugabe.

“During and after the 2003 World Cup, Henry Olonga faced the very serious threat of assassination if he’d stayed in Zimbabwe and he’s been with us ever since,” the invitation pointed out.

“Rashid Latif is another member of the Lashings family and he was treated as a pariah by certain people because he stood up for what he believed was right and said no to match-fixing.”

Folb said that Zulqarnain would be welcome in the World XI’s ranks, and urged him to get in touch with them.

“We believe Zulqarnain would feel at home with us. The message to Zulqarnain is give us a call,” he added.

Earlier on Monday morning, Haider had quietly slipped out of the Grand Hyatt in Dubai just hours before Pakistan’s final ODI match against South Africa, and boarded a London-bound flight. The player had not even discussed his plans with any of his team officials or fellow teammates.

Announcing his sudden decision to bow out from international cricket, the wicketkeeper told a news channel that he was receiving threats from an unknown person, and thus he decided to leave Dubai immediately and went to London, where he is now seeking asylum. (ANI)

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