Zulqarnain did the right thing

Published: November 11, 2010
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Zulqarnain was not ready to compromise his honesty and his patriotism for a pile of money.

Zulqarnain Haider has finally made it to the UK. This is a man who left a life of potential riches as an international cricketer on a principled stand of integrity. He was not ready to compromise his honesty and patriotism for a pile of money.

He is not that great a batsman for One Day Internationals (ODI’s) anyway, so he could have easily taken the money and made a little less runs, dropped a stumping or two, or a run-out (I am looking at you Akmal, Kamran) and we would have been none the wiser.

Taking the high road

Instead, he has taken the high road (the road that most of us, including me, would cynically call ‘idealistic’) but he is doing it well. Just like he did in that hopeless situation at Headingley.

He donated half of his first test match earnings to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital. When he was suspiciously sent back from the England tour, he spent time volunteering for flood victims. He might not be the most talented keeper to play for Pakistan but he has got ‘heart’as the Americans like to call it.

You know he plays for the team by the way he reacts to each wicket, and cheers each run. He is in the real sense of the word ‘a team player’. It must have been something serious which prompted him to leave his team with nothing but a few hundred pounds, a backpack, a T-shirt and jeans to venture into the November cold of London. Instead of sympathy from former board officials, and ex-cricketers, he is earning scorn.

Unnecessary criticism

Tauqir Zia called his flight to safety ‘childish’, that paragon of non-fixing virtue (sarcasm intended), Asif Iqbal termed his actions ‘stupid’ and that he had been ‘unpatriotic by virtue of fleeing’.

The government though, tops everything said and done, with Minister for Sports Mr Ijaz Jakhrani, saying that if Zulqarnain was such a coward then he should not have played cricket at all. What should he have done instead, Mr Minister? Reported it to the management?

We all know how trustworthy and ‘on-the-ball’ they are – if a player could weasel out his passport from them on a pretext, a gangbanger for the bookies mafia could easily have used them to get to Zulqarnain – then we would have had another ‘Woolmer’ on our hands. There would have been a body flown back, pictures of the family with Rahman Malik, Salman Taseer, and Shahbaz Sharif crying crocodile tears. At least this way, he is still alive, this way there is still a chance he might be able to blow the lid off this whole cesspool of corruption that is Pakistan cricket.

waqqas.iftikhar

Waqqas Iftikhar

An economist who works in a foreign bank in Karachi. He writes about sports.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.