Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan suspended indefinitely

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board has barred former captains Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan from the national team indefinitely for behavior they say contributed to Pakistan’s poor performance on its recent tour of Australia.

The PCB on Wednesday also imposed one-year bans on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved after implementing the recommendations of an inquiry committee formed to evaluate Pakistan’s dismal performance against Australia in December and January.

”Younis and Yousuf both cannot represent Pakistan in any international games, but they can play in domestic cricket and compete in county cricket,” PCB legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi told the Associated Press.

Both Yousuf and Younis were involved in infighting while on tour, which resulted in bringing down the whole team, the PCB said in a statement.

”Their attitude has a trickle down effect which is a bad influence for the whole team,” it said.

Malik and Naved were also fined Rs 2 million, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal was handed a fine of Rs 3 million and Umar Akmal, younger brother of Kamran, was fined Rs 2 million.

Shahid Afridi was fined Rs 3 million for ball tampering during the one-day series against Australia.

Afridi and both Akmal brothers will be on a probation of six months during which their conduct will be strictly monitored, the PCB said in a statement.

The inquiry committee comprised PCB chief operating officer Wasim Bari, board member Wazir Ali Khoja, director of cricket operations Zakir Khan, team manager Yawar Saeed and Rizvi.

The players who were handed suspensions and fines appeared before the committee while other team officials – coach Intikhab Alam, assistant coach Aaqib Javed, the then manager Abdul Raqeeb, physiotherapist Faisal Hayat and analyst Mohammad Talha – were also interviewed.

”All the recommendations of the inquiry committee were unanimous,” Rizvi said.

The committee also looked into manager and coaches reports of Pakistan’s tour last year to the United Arab Emirates for a one-day series against New Zealand, its test series in New Zealand and the disastrous tour of Australia where the team was routed 3-0 in the test series and 5-0 in the one-day series.

The penalties were the largest handed out in almost 10 years, since Justice Qayyum’s report on match-fixing in 2000 when Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman were handed life bans and several players including Wasim Akram and now national coach Waqar Younis were fined.

Former Pakistan test captain Ramiz Raja said the national team needed certain direction on discipline, but felt barring players from international competition was extreme.

”Our main problem was discipline, but barring players, I am not sure, it doesn’t look nice to just end the international careers of such talented players,” Raja told The AP.

”I think the PCB should have fined both Yousuf and Younis like they did to the others and set an example for other players, but banning them is a bit harsh to me.’

Another former test captain Inzamam-ul-Haq questioned the formation of the committee and described the banning of Yousuf and Younis as the ”totally wrong decision.”

”The committee comprised employees of the PCB and there was no neutral person in it,” Inzamam told Geo Television. ”You cannot ban someone from playing international cricket on just disciplinary grounds.”

Both Yousuf and Younis have led Pakistan in international cricket over the last 12 months.

Younis replaced Shoaib Malik early last year after Pakistan lost the one-day home series to Sri Lanka. Pakistan also went on to win the Twenty20 World Cup in England under Younis captaincy.

However, Younis left the captaincy soon after losing to New Zealand in the one-day series in the UAE due to poor batting form and allegedly said that players were not cooperating.

Yousuf was handed the captaincy for the tours of New Zealand and Australia, but Pakistan’s decline continued as it lost all its matches against Australia after drawing the two-test series against New Zealand 1-1.

Rana and Malik were an integral part of Pakistan’s Twenty20 team, but will now miss next month’s Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies.

Outspoken former test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz welcomed the PCB’s decision.

”It’s the end of players’ power from our national team which is a very good sign,” Nawaz said. ”From now on every player will be very careful because they know that they can be fined or banned if they violate discipline.”

Nawaz said he was not surprised with the bans for Yousuf and Younis, but was disappointed that wicketkeeper Akmal and Naved were not banned for at least one year.

”Younis and Yousuf had played their innings in international cricket as they have got too old, but Naved and Akaml should have also been banned for one year.”

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