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Decision to ban players got clearance from Zardari: sources

cricket Updated: Mar 11, 2010 13:21 IST

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The Pakistan Cricket Board's stringent disciplinary action against erring players, including indefinite bans on former captains Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan, was backed by the country's President and PCB chief patron Asif Ali Zardari.

Well-placed sources told PTI that the PCB had kept Zardari and the sports ministry aware of the recommendations made by the inquiry committee, which probed the team's poor performance in Australia.

"The board moved against the seven players after getting approval from the top," one source said.

The PCB said it had placed an indefinite ban on Yousuf and Younus as their infighting had a bad influence on the team.

The Board also announced a 12-month ban on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved and fines of Rs three million each on Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal and Rs two million on Umar Akmal. The board had also placed Shahid and Kamran under a six-month probation.

One source said during the hearing of the inquiry committee and after speaking to the coach, manager, captain and other players and even the support staff, it became clear that some players had their own law in the team.

"After speaking to the players and officials and looking into the reports of the team management it became clear to the inquiry committee that some players were putting their personal egos and interests above team and national interest," one source said.

The source said the strict action against Yousuf and Younus was taken because both were found guilty of trying to settle personal scores with other players during the tours to Abu Dhabi, New Zealand and Australia.

"They didn't behave like senior players and captains. They unnecessarily dropped players who they had scores to settle with and it affected team morale and performances," the source said.

The source said that during the course of the inquiry it also emerged that a particular group of players including Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal had forced some others to take an oath on the holy book during the Champions trophy in South Africa last year that they would not support Younus Khan as captain.

"One thing was clear that there were clear groupings in the team and that Shoaib Malik emerged as one of the main characters in this whole drama of intrigue and infighting," one source said.

"The committee found that Malik was responsible for not only instigating other players not to cooperate with the team management but also kept on encouraging groupings and running down players who just wanted to concentrate on their cricket and not be part of the groupings," the source disclosed.

He said that the issue of senior players refusing to play at the number three position in New Zealand and Australia was also discussed threadbare at the inquiry committee hearings.

"It was found that instead of setting an example for other players and supporting the captain some players kept on refusing to play at the number three spot causing rift in the team." Another source said that the coach and manager had made it clear to the inquiry committee that this was the right time to take disciplinary action against the players to root out the culture of groupism within the team.

"Since the team had lost badly in Australia and public and media sentiments were against the players the board felt this was the right time move ahead with some hard decisions."