‘Umar Akmal brought drinks for us and had told me to underperform’
Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal’s three-year suspension for not reporting the approach by the bookies has not surprised the former Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman Zulqarnain Haider.
“No, it is not news to me. I am not at all surprised,” he said over telephone from Lahore. “In fact, these players should be banned for life. This I have been telling with my experience.”
Narrating the 10-year old incident, he recalled the 3rd ODI against South Africa (November 2, 2010) at the Dubai Sports City (DSC), Zulqarnain said,
“It was a very crucial match (South Africa won the match by two) 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.”
“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,” the wicket-keeper, who was 24 then, added.
“On my return from England, I did tell all these to the PCB and the ICC anti-corruption officers. Even today also, I am prepared to depose before them,” he signed off.