Younis Khan and PCB resolve issues
The long-running battle between Younis Khan and the Pakistan board has finally been resolved, after a meeting between the former captain and Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman. Younis, a former Pakistan captain, was cleared for selection almost immediately and picked in the limited-overs squad for the series against South Africa in the UAE later this month.
The meeting took place early on Wednesday and board officials familiar with the meeting told ESPNcricinfo that all outstanding issues were resolved amicably. A resolution had been on the cards since the board sent a letter to Younis asking him to meet the chairman. Younis responded positively, telling reporters in Lahore he was keen to meet and play again for Pakistan.
At a press conference later in the day in Karachi Mohsin Khan, chief selector, announced that Younis had joined the training camp in Lahore. "The chairman [PCB] has given clearance this afternoon to Younis Khan and that is good news," Mohsin told reporters. "I discussed with the selection committee and we picked him straight away. He is fit, playing top-class cricket."
There was some confusion, however, over whether Younis had also been inducted into the Test squad. "For now he is in the limited-overs squad," Mohsin said. "We will see his progress over the ODIs and then make a decision for the Tests after that." Over in Lahore though, at almost the same time, Intikhab Alam, the team manager, indicated to reporters that Younis was back in the Test side as well.
Younis' return has also been hastened by the pullout from the ODI squad of Mohammad Yousuf. Yousuf has not been training over the last two days at the camp at Gaddafi Stadium and has a grade 2 abductor muscle tear. Mohsin said he is likely to be out for 2-3 weeks, though added that Younis would have been selected even if Yousuf was available.
Younis was one of four players the board either banned or decided would not be selected for an indefinite period in the aftermath of a disastrous tour of Australia in 2009-10. Three others were fined heavily.
Alongside five others, Younis appealed against the punishment to a one-man appelate tribunal. Shoaib Malik, the Akmal brothers and Shahid Afridi had their fines reduced and bans lifted soon after, while Rana Naved ul Hasan had his one-year ban lifted recently. Yousuf didn't appeal, announcing his retirement instead, though he was asked by the board to return for the England tour, his punishment apparently waived away.
Younis' case, however, had stalled. The tribunal "set aside his order" and referred it back to the board, as it did with the others. The other players then apologised to the board and accepted their mistakes, clearing the way for their return. Younis refused to do so, insisting through his lawyer that he had done nothing to apologise for and had instead maintained that he wanted to clear his name fully of the charges laid against him.
The board released a statement with few details, referring only to the meeting and that the matter now "stands closed."
Over the last few weeks the board and chairman in particular had come under severe pressure from a clutch of former cricketers as well as the national assembly's standing committee on sports to bring Younis back into the fold.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo