Punished players demand explanation

LAHORE: Pakistani cricketers demanded Friday to know why they were punished with bans and fines as a tribunal started an appeals process against sanctions imposed by sporting authorities.

The tribunal is overseen by Irfan Qadir, a retired high court judge chosen by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

He heard Friday from lawyers representing former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik, as well as Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who is currently in England playing county cricket. Younus also appeared before the tribunal.

"The tribunal has postponed the hearing on Younus''s appeal for May 8 as his lawyer demanded to inspect the report which carries the reasons of their punishment," PCB legal advisor Talib Rizvi told AFP.

"The penalised players will be allowed to inspect the documents," he said.

Malik, who is in India on honeymoon, and Naved were represented by their lawyers and their next hearing is scheduled for May 22, said Rizvi.

Younus, along with former captain Mohammad Yousuf, was banned indefinitely by the PCB on charges of "infighting which resulted in a negative influence on the team".

Malik and Naved were banned for a year and fined two million rupees (24,000 dollars) for disciplinary breaches.

Pakistan''s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal were fined three million rupees and placed on probation for six months, also for violations of discipline. Umar Akmal was fined two million rupees.

Afridi and the Akmal brothers can only attend the hearing next month, as they are now representing Pakistan in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean, said Rizvi.

Yousuf announced his retirement from international cricket after the ban and is the only punished player who did not appeal.

The PCB took action against seven cricketers after Pakistan failed to win a single match during a December-February tour of Australia.

Preceding tours of New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates also formed the basis of punishment, where off-field problems marred the team''s performance.

Younus''s lawyer Ahmed Malik Qayyum criticised the appeal process, telling AFP that the hearings should be held in open and not behind closed doors.

"We have demanded to see the inquiry report as we want to know the reasons of the punishment, which is our basic right," Qayyum added.