Pakistan ban Mohammad Yousuf & Younus Khan indefinitely
Drastic action has been meted on four top Pakistan players
Pakistan duo Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan have been banned indefinitely from representing their country.
The Pakistan Cricket Board's inquiry into the tour of Australia found the pair had been involved in "infighting which... brought down the whole team".
Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Shoaib Malik each face one-year bans and big fines.
Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal also face heavy fines while their conduct will be strictly monitored during a six-month probationary period.
Recent captains Yousuf and Younus, the two most experienced batsmen in the sides, face the most serious sanctions.
When one was captain he threw the other man out, when the other was captain he threw the other out when he would have been selected
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt
At 35 and 32 respectively they may now have played their last international cricket - though the PCB later stated their bans were not intended for life.
"As and when the PCB deems appropriate, these players will be considered for selection for the national team," it said.
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt told BBC World Service: "When one was captain he threw the other man out, when the other was captain he threw the other out when he would have been selected. There are many other instances that have happened."
The PCB has implemented the recommendations of an inquiry committee formed to evaluate Pakistan's dismal performance against Australia during the winter, when they lost all nine internationals.
Pakistan must now try to defend their ICC World Twenty20 crown in the Caribbean next month with severely depleted resources, particularly among the batsmen, before facing what could be a chastening tour of England.
But the PCB was unrepentant, saying in a statement: "This will go a long way to arrest the continuing decline of Pakistan cricket and improve the state of cricket in Pakistan."
The inquiry, which also covered the Afridi "ball-biting" incident in Perth, detailed its sanctions against the seven players in an e-mail issued from its Lahore offices.
It said it had passed judgement "after careful and detailed analysis of the events, the personal accounts of the team management and players and examination of record, videos and statistics".
The unanimous recommendations of the committee were as follows:
• Mohammad Yousuf and Younus Khan - keeping in view their infighting which resulted in bringing down the whole team, their attitude has a trickledown effect which is a bad influence for the whole team should not be part of national team in any format.
• For the shameful act of Shahid Afridi, which has brought the game and country into disrepute, he be fined Rs3m (£23,800). A warning be issued to him by the chairman of the PCB and he be put on probation for six months, during which his conduct be strictly monitored.
• Kamran Akmal be fined Rs3m (£23,800). A warning be issued to him by the chairman of the PCB and he be put on probation for six months, during which his conduct be strictly monitored.
• Umar Akmal be fined Rs2m (£15,900). A warning be issued to him by the chairman of the PCB and he be put on probation for six months, during which his conduct be strictly monitored.
• Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Shoaib Malik be fined Rs2m (£15,900). They should not be part of a national team in any format for a period of one year.
A DAMAGING BLOW
The four banned players are extremely important members of Pakistan's side
Yousuf has 24 Test centuries to his name and, at 35, is one of the most feared batsmen in international cricket
Younus, a 32-year-old right-hander, has a Test batting average in excess of 50
Rana Naved is a fast bowler of 32 with a fine record in ODIs and Twenty20 internationals
Malik is the team's principal all-rounder, combining stylish batting with economical off-spin. He is 28
One PCB official later clarified the terms of the bans. Taffazul Rizvi, the board's legal advisor, told Cricinfo: "They will not be part of any Pakistan team in any format from here on... They can play domestic cricket or county cricket here and abroad."
Younus stepped down from the captaincy twice last year, with reports of player unrest about his style of leadership liberally strewn across the media.
Yousuf, the third-highest run scorer in Pakistan Test history, led a winless tour to Australia before falling out publicly with Twenty20 skipper Malik.
The PCB has not expanded upon the cases of indiscipline that have led to the bans on Malik, 28, and Rana Naved, 32. However, the cases of the Akmal brothers and Shahid Afridi are more clear-cut.
The Akmals were fined for their behaviour after the Sydney Test.
Wicketkeeper Kamran, 28, insisted publicly he would be selected in the run-up to the third Test after being dropped from the side. Younger brother Umar, 19, was alleged to have feigned an injury to skip the Test in protest, though he did eventually play.
Afridi, 30, was punished for the bizarre incident in the Perth one-day international, when as a stand-in captain of the side, he bit the ball in a novel approach to the banned art of ball-tampering. He has served a two-match ICC ban for the indiscretion.
I want to know what I did wrong. I will be consulting with my people before deciding a future line of action
Attention will inevitably switch to how the players will respond, with legal action likely to be around the corner. The early indications were that one of them, fast bowler Rana Naved, would appeal.
"I want to know what I did wrong," he said. "I will be consulting with my people before deciding a future line of action."
Rashid Latif, another former captain, expected those most harshly treated to win their cases.
"You can't hand out such severe punishments to players of the calibre of Yousuf and Younus Khan," Latif said.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, yet another former captain and no stranger to controversy himself, was also scathing of the decision.
"Why was action not taken earlier against these players?" he asked. "Why did the board keep quiet for so long when the team was on tour?"
The decisions mean Pakistan will be bringing a hugely inexperienced side to England for their three-month summer tour, which features two Tests against Australia, four against Andrew Strauss's men and a string of one-day and Twenty20 internationals.
But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) say they do not believe the absence of star names will have a negative effect on attendances.
ECB spokesman Andrew Walpole told BBC Sport: "We will continue to monitor the situation but we remain confident that the Pakistan team will continue to generate huge support this summer."
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