English Club Looks to Recruit Former Pakistan Cricket Player
English Club Looks to Recruit Former Pakistan Cricket Player

An English village cricket club has extended an open invitation to former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider for the 2011 season.

The Lashings World XI, whose base is a bar and restaurant in Kent, England, is known for offering a haven to players with off-the-field problems.

The club's chairman, David Folb said Zulqarnain would feel at home with the team and urged him to get in touch.

In another development Thursday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) finally got in contact with the player.  PCB chairman Ijaz Butt spoke to Haider by telephone and assured him of its full co-operation.

The PCB had been trying to contact Zulqarnain since Monday when he arrived in London and on Wednesday it suspended his contract pending further investigation into the incident.

The 24-year-old said he applied for asylum in Britain after much deliberation and at the moment has no plans to return to Pakistan.

Lashings has previously recruited Rashid Latif, another Pakistan wicketkeeper who resisted match-fixing.  On the roster currently is Zimbabwean cricket player Henry Olonga, who received death threats for protesting against the political regime of Robert Mugabe.

Haider secretly fled the Pakistan team after he allegedly received threats and was offered money to lose matches against South Africa in Dubai.  After Haider left, Pakistan lost its fifth and deciding one-day international to lose the series. 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.