Cricket star Haider flees UAE after phone death threat

Police guard on Pakistan player's home after wicketkeeper may have been targeted by match-fixers to throw game against South Africa - but he scored the winning run instead.

The Pakistani cricketer Zulqarnain Haider celebrates after scoring the winning runs in a match against South Africa at the Dubai Cricket Stadium on Friday. Match-fixers are believed to have demanded a South African win and Zulqarnain has fled the team camp after receiving death threats.
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DUBAI // A Pakistani cricket star fled the team camp in Dubai yesterday after receiving death threats believed to be related to match-fixing.

Zulqarnain Haider arrived in London last night as police mounted a guard on his home in Lahore to protect his family.

Zulqarnain, 24, the team's wicketkeeper, failed to report to the team hotel before yesterday's deciding one-day international against South Africa at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

On Friday night he had scored the winning run in the fourth match of the series, which may have angered match fixers who had arranged for a South African win.

Before boarding a flight to London, Zulqarnain left a message on his Facebook page suggesting he had been threatened.

His post read: "Leaving pakistan cricket because get bad msg fr 1 man fr lose the match in last game."

In Lahore, his brother Aqeel said Zulqarnain had received text messages on his mobile phone threatening to kill him, and also threatening his family.

A TV reporter for Geo, a Pakistani news channel, said he had received a text message from Zulqarnain asking for security for his family.

After training at the stadium until about 8pm on Sunday, Zulqarnain asked for his passport from Pakistan's management team, which keeps the players' passports as a matter of course while on tour.

The player said he needed the passport to buy a SIM card for his mobile phone, the team manager, Intikhab Alam, said.

Zulqarnain's disappearance is the latest in a series of debacles that has reduced Pakistani cricket to a state of chaos.

Three of its players are still under investigation after allegations of a spot-fixing betting scam during a match against England during the summer.

On Sunday, Zulqarnain was fined 12,000 rupees (Dh500) for breaking a curfew imposed by the team's management, along with two other players.

Pakistani cricket chiefs in Dubai said yesterday they had no indication from the player that anything was amiss, until he disappeared.