Former Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has launched a scathing attack on the national players, calling them 'mentally retarded' during their forgettable tour of Australia earlier this year, where they failed to win a single match. The English daily, Dawn had secured documents from the Pakistan Cricket Board, which contained Intikhab's views on his players while he was in charge. The board had set up an inquiry committee to identify the players responsible for the defeats.

Intikhab, who was replaced by Waqar Younis after the tour, revealed that apart from their woeful on-field performance, the players failed to conduct themselves in a proper manner off the field as well.

"I felt that they are mentally retarded people," Intikhab was quoted as saying to the committee. "There is a mental problem with our players. They don't know how to wear their clothes and how to talk in a civilized manner."

The PCB took action against seven players it believed were responsible for Pakistan's failures. The captain Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan were banned indefinitely, Shoaib Malik and Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for a year while Shahid Afridi and the Akmal brothers were fined and placed on probation for six months.

Yousuf and Younis were accused of infighting and having a negative influence on the team. Yousuf announced his retirement from international cricket after the ban and is the only one among the punished players who didn't appeal. The six players who appealed will appear before a one-man tribunal headed by Irfan Qadir, a retired high court judge.

Intikhab, however, identified Malik as someone with a "negative attitude" who was "active in intrigues in the team". Quoting an example of the factions that had developed within the team, Intikhab confessed to hearing that a group of "six to seven" players had gone to the former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's house before the UAE tour prior to the Australia series, where they "took oath on the Quran that they will remain united against (the then captain) Younis Khan".

But Malik, a former captain, denied that allegation and said that the players had vowed to remain united in case a team member was dropped "unjustifiably". He added that the oath was taken in Yousuf's hotel room and not at Inzamam's house.

When Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was asked at a press conference to comment on Intikhab's views, he said: "I don't know about these things but when I do I will definitely tell you."