PCB sends notice to Younis Khan

Younis Khan arrives for the hearing against his ban AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has moved to resolve their current impasse with former captain Younis Khan by sending him a notice a few days ago asking him to contact it.

ESPNcricinfo understands the Pakistan board is keen that Younis approach it now. It believes that to be the next logical step after his appeal against a punishment imposed on him after the Australia tour earlier this year was referred back to the board. The situation has meant that Younis, statistically one of Pakistan's most successful Test No. 3 batsmen, has not played a Test since July last year and no ODIs since January this year.

Typically, however, it is not clear whether Younis has received any such notice. "As far as we are aware, nothing has been received by Younis or myself," Ahmed Qayyum, Younis' lawyer, told ESPNcricinfo. Younis is currently in Lahore, and will be at the Gaddafi Stadium - which is where the PCB is headquartered - to play for his regional side in the domestic Twenty20 tournament, which starts on Sunday.

It is not yet clear if this latest action indicates the board's willingness to try and bring Younis back into the national side. If he doesn't contact the board, he is likely to be served a fresh show-cause notice, asking him to address the charges laid against him. Qayyum insisted the whole process has already been undertaken once and that his appeal had been successful.

Younis was one of seven players punished by the board in the aftermath of a tour among the most disastrous in Pakistan's history. The board decided that Younis would not play for Pakistan for an indefinite period, though officials have insisted the decision did not amount to a ban.

The reasons behind the punishment were never fully explained, resting only on vague references to "in-fighting" and general "indiscipline." It is likely, however, that walking away from the captaincy twice within a couple of months in the run-up to the Australia tour contributed to the punishment.

Alongside five others, Younis appealed against the punishment to the one-man tribunal of retired judge Irfan Qadir. Shoaib Malik, the Akmal brothers and Shahid Afridi had their fines reduced and bans lifted soon after; Rana Naved ul Hasan had his one-year ban lifted on Saturday. Mohammad Yousuf didn't appeal and announced his retirement, though he was asked by the board to return for the England tour, his punishment apparently waived away.

Younis' case, however, has 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 has refused to do so, insisting through his lawyer that he has done nothing to apologise for and has instead maintained that he wants to clear his name fully of the charges laid against him.

This, sources confirm, lies at the heart of the battle with Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman. Butt has steadfastly refused to clear Younis for selection, despite the selectors being keen on utilising his experience in the middle order. Publicly the chairman has expressed his unhappiness only with "inappropriate statements" that Younis' lawyer has made since the appeal.

Pressure has since been put on Butt by a horde of ex-players, selectors and the national assembly's standing committee on sports to bring Younis back into the side. The standing committee has called Butt to a hearing on October 12 in which he is expected to be grilled on the Younis issue. Butt, however, is unlikely to attend as he will be in Dubai to attend an ICC meeting at the same time.