Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shocked everyone with their decision to ban the two most senior players for Pakistan in Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan today. It was known that after the inquiry commission reports the PCB might impose a ban on Rana Naved and Shoaib Malik for a period of one year, but this one was totally unexpected.
The reason given by the PCB for the ban of the two was that they caused infighting, which in turn damaged the team unity. Afridi and the Akmal brothers (Umar and Kamran) were slapped a fine of $24000-$35000 and have been kept on 6 month probation to mend their ways.
The life ban on Yousuf and Younis means that they will not be considered for any future games for Pakistan from here on in any format, but the PCB have allowed them to participate in their domestic tournaments, county cricket and in any such foreign leagues. Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved have been banned for a year from representing Pakistan in any form of international cricket starting now. It was not very clear as to what was the reason for the bans on Rana and Malik.
This now puts the selectors in a predicament as they have punished almost all of the senior members of the squad, and choosing a captain for the upcoming T20 World Cup is going to be a challenge. From the available pool of players – since Afridi has been placed on probation – Razzak might take the mantle for the T20 WC. He is the most senior member left in the Pakistan squad, and he is almost certain to represent them in the 20 over format.
The captain for the ODI’s and Tests will leave the selectors pulling their hair out. Whether they will name Afridi as the captain for all three formats is something to wait and watch. The inquiry commission has certainly left the Pakistani cricket in further turmoil, and it will take a lot of planning by the PCB to get the team on track.