Bans have made Pakistan a 'laughing stock' - Akram
Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has slammed the PCB's decision to ban four of its players , saying it had made Pakistan cricket a "laughing stock in the world", and recommended heavy fines instead. Akram was part of the inquiry committee that investigated Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia, whose findings led to the PCB's decision, but he did not attend any of the meetings due to personal reasons.
"These penalties have made Pakistan cricket a laughing stock in the world," Akram told AFP. "You don't ban players for such problems. Had I attended any meeting or given recommendations I would have suggested fines, but not bans."
The Pakistan board banned Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf from playing for Pakistan in any format for an indefinite period, while handing out one-year bans to Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. Shahid Afridi and the Akmal brothers were fined Rs2-3 million [$24,000-35,000] for various misdemeanours and put on six-month probations.
Akram said Younis and Yousuf were valuable to the team in both Tests and ODIs and their unavailability for selection would damage the 2011 World Cup campaign. "What I suggest to PCB is to stick with heavy fines, but don't implement the bans because we still need Yousuf and Younis in Tests and one-day cricket. With the World Cup in 2011 so close, this decision will hurt our team badly."
The bans were handed down by an inquiry committee comprising former players Wasim Bari, Zakir Khan and Yawar Saeed, besides Wazir Ali Khoja, a member of the PCB governing council, and Taffazul Rizvi, the board's legal advisor. The committee looked into reports from former coach Intikhab Alam, manager Abdul Raqeeb and newly appointed coach Waqar Younis, who was the bowling consultant during the Australia tour.
Akram, however, said that this was not how disciplinary problems should be resolved and that it was the duty of the team management to deal with them. "Pakistan cricket is in turmoil," Akram said. "We are anyway not playing [international] cricket [at home] for security reasons and this will further embarrass our players. No board in the world deprives cricketers of their livelihood. If there were discipline problems, it was the duty of the captain Yousuf, coach Intikhab Alam and manager Abdul Raqeeb to deal with them.
"I have been hearing since last year that Malik has been a disruptive influence. If that is so, why was he kept in the team? Pakistan has already been weakened by various problems and this will further hit it badly. We can't even find 11 good players because of lack of talent in the country."