‘I was nervous, tense and almost crumbled’, reveals Zulqarnain Haider

Image courtesy of: Times of India

“I have started to regain respect in the cricketing circles and I am happy and satisfied that I am accepted again”

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has revealed that he was “nervous, tense and almost crumbled” during a series against South Africa in November 2010.

Haider went missing during that series and was later found to have applied for asylum in the United Kingdom after allegedly receiving threats from unidentified people.

Following his return to Pakistan, Haider was fined Rs 500,000 by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for violating the team’s code of conduct.

However, with all these issues behind him, Haider still believes that he has what it takes to regain his spot in the national team.

“There were chances that I could have been misunderstood and ridiculed,” Haider told ESPNcricinfo. “There is always a lack of communication between players, selectors and officials and sharing is never an easy thing. I was nervous, tense and almost crumbled. I could not understand what to do. I reacted the only way I thought I could at the time and in hindsight it proved wrong.”

Haider also revealed that he had been extremely stressed during that period of time.

He also praised England batsman Jonathan Trott for going public with his stress-related illness.

“I am happy that such things have been reported in the media,” Haider said. “It will encourage the player to be honest and part ways [with the team] if they are not 100%.

“I was committed to my cricket and representing the country is a big honor. I had remarkable moments, but at the same time pressure mounts and it’s not easy to cope with it. When you represent your country, you are a different man, living with the huge expectations of a nation that is madly in love with the game. But at the end you are human, you feel pain, get stressed and need support.

“Though I was focused, I got distracted with the threats and lost my nerve. You might say I am a weak-minded person but it’s not right. I was suffering from a poor mental state at the time and wasn’t ready to go on the field and put my gloves on. My confidence was shattered and I didn’t want to play again. With such a depression, I wanted to be in a safe place and around those who could help and support me.”

Haider finished off by reiterating that he still believes he can represent Pakistan once again.

“What I did was bold and obviously not right and I have paid the price of it,” he said. “I have to start from scratch but I am hopeful about my future. I have started to regain respect in the cricketing circles and I am happy and satisfied that I am accepted again. I have worked so hard to regain my confidence that was poorly shaken after the incident. I know most of the people around me still don’t understand me but it’s because of the lack of education about such illnesses that are misunderstood and remains taboo in our society.”

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