Pakistan cricket duo banned for life

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The Independent Online

The Pakistan Cricket Board have barred former captains Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf from the national team for life as part of a major crackdown on player indiscipline.

The experienced duo have effectively been banned from representing their country at international level as a result of "infighting", which the PCB believes was partly responsible for the team's abject showing on their recent tour to Australia.

Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul Hasan were also handed one-year bans by the PCB, who acted on the advice of a report submitted by a six-member inquiry committee set up to investigate the reasons behind the Australia debacle.

The PCB statement read: "Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, keeping in view their infighting which resulted in bringing down the whole team, their attitude has a trickle-down effect which is a bad influence for the whole team, should not be part of national team in any format."

Younis stepped down as captain in November, just prior to the series against Australia, after suggesting he had lost command of his players.

Yousuf was subsequently installed as captain but Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international on the tour.

The PCB's general manager for media, Nadeem Sawar, disputed the suggestion that the two players had been banned, rather that they would not be considered for future internationals.

"If you look at the media release, we have not used the word ban, but merely stated that these players would not be part of the national team in the future," Sawar said.

However he added: "At this stage, it would seem that their international career is over.

"They will not be playing international cricket."

Pakistan's tour of Australia was also marred by a ball-tampering row involving Shahid Afridi.

Afridi was today fined three million rupees (£24,000) and placed on probation for six months over the incident, while the Akmal brothers, Kamran and Umar, were fined a total of five million rupees (£40,000) on grounds of indiscipline.

Sarwar insisted the decisions were not an over-reaction, saying: "The PCB believes team discipline is essential and it does not matter whether the players are senior or junior.

"This is not a harsh decision because the committee has recommended that these steps are necessary and mandatory to keep the team in order.

"The PCB has merely accepted the recommendations of the committee.

"As for the morale of the team being low ahead of the World Twenty20, I on the contrary think that the morale of the other players will be up as this would only let them know that any breach of discipline would not be tolerated in future.

"It's a clear message from the PCB."

The PCB statement added: "The recommendations of the committee will go a long way to arrest the continuing decline Pakistan cricket and improve the state of cricket in Pakistan.

"It is a landmark exercise which is an outcome of labour and hard work of the members of the committee."