ISLAMABAD, March 10 – Former Pakistan captains Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf have been banned from the national cricket team after the recent catastrophic tour of Australia, the cricket board said on Wednesday.Two other players Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Shoaib Malik were banned for a year by the six-man committee set up by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to investigate the December-February tour, in which Pakistan lost the Test series 3-0, the one-day matches 5-0 and the only Twenty20 match.
The committee blamed infighting between Yousuf and Khan for the disastrous results, and recommended they "should not be part of the national team in any format".
"Their attitude has a trickledown effect, which is a bad influence for the whole team," said a statement from the PCB, after its committee held intensive and lengthy hearings with several of those involved in the tour.
The PCB said in a statement that the "recommendations of the inquiry committee have been accepted by PCB in totality".
Other recommendations included a three-million-rupee (35,500-US-dollar) fine and six months’ probation for Shahid Afridi, who was caught by TV cameras biting the ball during the Australian tour’s final one-day match in Perth.
The International Cricket Council match referee handed Afridi a ban of two Twenty20 matches for ball tampering and the allrounder later apologised.
Afridi had committed a "shameful act… which has brought the game and country into disrepute" and his conduct will be monitored, the PCB said.
Two other players – brothers Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal – were also fined and put on similar probation.
The PCB said in conclusion that the radical disciplinary action would go down as a historic day for the sport in Pakistan.
"The recommendations of the Committee will go a long way to arrest the continuing decline in Pakistan cricket and improve the state of cricket in Pakistan," it said.
Speaking to the Cricinfo website, the PCB’s legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi explained the ramifications for Khan and Yousuf.
"They will not be part of any Pakistan team in any format from here on," he said, adding that the PCB had stopped short of imposing a so-called life ban.
"A life ban means they cannot play domestic cricket or any other similar cricket, but we are not stopping them from that. They can play domestic cricket or county cricket here and abroad."
Khan, 32, abandoned the captaincy after losing a one-day series to New Zealand in Abu Dhabi last year. Yousuf replaced Khan as captain for the tour of Australia, but has faced harsh criticism for failing to keep the team in check.
Former cricket greats were divided over the decision, with some saying it further tarnished Pakistan’s global reputation at a time when many teams are staying away from the nation because of attacks by Islamist militants.
"What sort of message are we delivering to the world by taking such decisions at a time when nobody is agreeing to come to Pakistan to play cricket?" former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq told Cricinfo.
Former captain and wicketkeeper Rashid Latif also told the website he thought the players had been treated unfairly.
"This is not the way to improve things in Pakistan cricket," he said.
"I am getting a feeling that the board has taken these decisions to save themselves after the recent poor performances and controversies."
But ex-skipper Zaheer Abbas said discipline issues had got out of control and something had to be done.
"The decision is beneficial even if we lose in the Twenty20 World Cup. The move has a lesson for budding players. They will always have in mind that if senior players can be punished, then they too are no exceptions," he said.