Younis could return for Pakistan as ban is overturned

By Rhys Hayward
pakistani cricket fans

Pakistan cricket fans (Photo: JJ Hall)

Pakistani cricket’s ongoing soap opera has taken yet another turn after former captain Younis Khan’s indefinite international ban was lifted by an appeal judge.

Irfan Qadir also halved the fines handed out to the Akmal brothers, Kamran and Umar and quashed the fine given to Shahid Afridi for his bizarre ball biting antics.

Afridi, who will captain the side in England this summer, could welcome back Younis, a veteran of 63 Tests, into an otherwise inexperienced batting line-up.

The stylish No.3 is currently playing in England for Surrey and may be persuaded to forget his tumultuous relationship with the PCB to have a tilt at Australia and England.

Pakistan face England in four tests at the back end of the summer after taking on Australia in two ‘home’ fixtures at Lord’s and Headingley.

Instability in Pakistan and the tragic events of in Lahore last year, when gunmen opened fire on the touring Sri Lankan’s team bus, make home matches impossible.

And the team’s performances have suffered in the wake of internal strife, culminating in a disastrous tour of Australia last winter where they lost every international fixture.

Rumours of problems within the camp abounded in the aftermath and the PCB reacted by dishing out fines and suspensions to a number of their most high profile players.

Another former captain, Shoaib Malik, successfully appealed against a one-year ban last year while Mohammed Yousuf reacted to his suspension by retiring from the international game.

The mercurial nature of Pakistani cricket has been a hindrance to progress since their heyday in the mid 1990’s.

A shambolic internal structure seems to have no effect on developing flamboyant talents such as Umar Akamal and young left arm quick Mohammed Aamer.

But a lack of exposure to test cricket in recent years has restricted their development with a lack of discipline obvious, particularly during a spectacular implosion in Sydney last winter.

Rumblings of match fixing add to the murkiness of the Pakistani game and Afridi, who last played a test in 2006, will be praying for some positive publicity this summer.

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