All I know about the sending back of Yousuf Youhana from Nairobi on disciplinary grounds is what I have read in the newspapers. If there is more to it than meets the eye, I am not privy to it. I don't know Youhana all that well, indeed all I may have done was to shake hands with him a couple of times.

But of all the players in this present Pakistan squad, he seemed to be the one without an attitude, someone least likely to flaunt authority or throw a tantrum. He most fitted Milton's "they also serve who only stand and wait". Did something in him suddenly snap that turned Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde? I don't know.

But one must assume some horrendous behaviour that left the team management with no choice but to send him packing and to deprive the team of its best batsman, after Inzamam-ul-Haq. I emphasise that I know nothing beyond what has appeared in the newspaper and on the evidence of that, the team management acted harshly. The PCB chairman, Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia has got it exactly right that the whole matter was overblown and should have been settled at a local level.

Every touring team has problems and there are varying degrees of indiscipline and varying degree of punishment available to a team management to impose on alleged offender, fines for example. Sending a player home should be the last option after other options have been exhausted and warnings ignored.

In other words, a player should be a habitual troublemaker. Youhana doesn't fit the bill. Nor do I feel that Yawar Saeed is someone who will act on the spur of the moment. He has age and experience on his side. I must confess that I am mystified by it all. No one should challenge the authority of the captain, all the more reason why a captain should not find himself in a situation where his authority can be challenged.

Youhana wanted to skip nets because he had a shoulder injury. There is a doctor and a trainer attached to the team. Surely, these were the best people to decide on the extent of the injury.

Coming at a time when the team has a tough schedule ahead of it, it seems to be the wrong time to disturb the harmony in the team. Both the team management and the players have never had it so good. This is a player-friendly PCB and a compassionate one. The goals that the team should be scoring should be against its opponents, not against itself.

I don't know how much this has affected the team's performance in the triangular series but so far the performance has been far from satisfactory and against Australia, it was unbelievably bad. The team just fell apart. It was a game that was lost in the dressing-room as it was lost on the field.

Australia was sent in to bat in conditions that should have suited our pace attack. Yet Australia made 332 and bit for Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, spinners, would have made more. Wides and no-balls were given away as if they were free samples and Wasim Akram was the main culprit. Inzamam had played the first match against Kenya and was hobbling about and went off and rightly was denied a runner when he came to bat. If he was unfit, he has a sore knee, he should not have been played.

With the weight of 332 runs on its back, Pakistan fiddled with the batting order and Abdul Razzaq was sent in to open the batting, not Saeed Anwar or Shahid Afridi. Someone, it seemed had pressed the panic-button.

The key to chasing a huge total is to see the new ball off and have wickets in hand. In a twinkling of an eye, the top order was gone. Imran Nazir could have stretched a back-muscle trying to reach what was a wide ball. Instead, he got an inside edge. Afridi was unlucky as the ball went of his pad to dislodge a bail and Saeed padded up to a straight ball. There being no Inzamam and indeed no Youhana, it was something of an achievement that Pakistan got past the 100 mark. It was a match that Pakistan would do well to forget.

Cricket may be a game of glorious uncertainties but not absurdities and it was a foregone conclusion, as the tournament started that the final would be between Pakistan and Australia. But before the final, Pakistan has to play against Australia. A strong showing in that match could do much to bolster Pakistan's confidence.

At last, Shoaib Akhtar was at his awesome-best even though it was against the wrong opponent. But he has into his strides and he bowled really fast and was unsmiling, as fast bowlers should be. The decision to give him the new ball was a good one. In a way, it was a vote of confidence in him and he responded.

I think Wasim Akram should have been rested in the second match against Kenya and Mohammad Sami played in his place. Wasim should have spent the day in the nets and made to work on the wides and no-balls he had been bowling. Wasim has looked out of sorts and, perhaps, a little too intense and over focused.

But Pakistan's main worry remains at the top order of its batting. Saeed Anwar seems to be lacking in confidence and Imran Nazir should be made to bat bare-footed so that he becomes aware that he has feet and they are supposed to be used to get at the pitch of the ball. Inzamam has a dodgy knee and there is, of course, no Youhana.

As I write this, the contract row is no nearer a solution. The ICC apparently objected even to India's main sponsor Sahara which is a conglomerate which includes an airline. One of ICC's sponsors is South African airlines and as far as I know Sahara is a domestic carrier and in way could it be considered as being in competition with SAA. The whole issue is becoming a farce. What happened to common sense?