The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last night stood by the penalties they imposed on seven players last week, and revealed the feud between Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf, the former captains, started in Abu Dhabi. They claimed Khan's decision to drop Yousuf for the second one-day international against New Zealand at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in November - claiming Yousuf's fielding as the reason - prompted a dressing-room argument which was the catalyst for a split developing in the team. Pakistan lost the match by 64 runs.
The PCB made the revelation in response to claims by Abdul Raquib, the team manager, that the sanctions were harsh, even though he had given evidence against the pair to an internal inquiry. "Raquib had stated in his manager's report that when Younus Khan decided to drop Mohammad Yousuf for the second ODI against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, it led to a series of events that ultimately forced Younus Khan to resign.
"Raquib's tour report clearly mentioned that when Yousuf was told he was dropped on account of his poor fielding Yousuf curtly replied 'I have been fielding like this for the last seven years'. He publicly argued with the team coach and the resulting disquiet in the team led to the dropping of Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal. "Raquib stated that it was against the backdrop of these events that team unity completely broke down and eventually Younus resigned the captaincy. Raquib has also admitted that he was unable to take any corrective action and remained totally helpless to arrest the sharply falling team morale in during these events."
As well as indefinite bans for Khan and Yousuf, Malik and Rana Naved-ul Hasan were suspended for a year while the Akmal brothers - Umar and Kamran - and Shahid Afridi, the iconic Twenty20 captain, were fined. The PCB have formed a three-man panel, comprising of former judges, to hear any appeals made against the punishments, although none have been lodged. * With agencies