Former Pakistan players angry at Younus Khan tour exclusion

Iqbal Qasim says the former captain is being punished for challenging his indefinite ban following disciplinary offences in the UAE.

KARACHI // Pakistani cricket veterans expressed anger that Younus Khan had been excluded from the squad bound for England, saying the former captain is being victimised. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has given no reason for excluding Younus, 33, from the 17-man Test squad announced in Sri Lanka yesterday despite his indefinite ban for disciplinary offences being overturned. The PCB chairman Ijaz Butt was last week quoted by local media as saying that Younus would require the board's clearance, which has apparently not been given. Younus was one of seven players banned and fined for disciplinary offences on the tours of the UAE, New Zealand and Australia. But the bans on Younus and Shoaib Malik were overturned by a one-man PCB arbitrator.

Another former captain, Mohammad Yousuf, who retired in protest over the sanctions, did not appeal while all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan's appeal is pending. Former chief selector Iqbal Qasim said Younus was being punished for challenging his indefinite ban. "I feel Younus has been victimised," Qasim said. "He fought his case and was outspoken against the treatment and was dropped," said Qasim, who resigned from his post in February after Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia.

Pakistan also announced a 15-man squad for the Twenty20 matches on the tour of England, which opens with two Twenty20 matches against Australia on July 5 and 6 before two Tests against the same opponents, also in England. Pakistan will then play four Tests, two Twenty20 and five one-day matches against England with the tour ending on September 22. The squad for the one-day games will be announced later.

Qasim said Younus will be missed on a tough tour. "It's our batting which let us down, so we will definitely miss Younus, who is a big name when it comes to international cricket," said Qasim. Former captain Rashid Latif said that, along with Younus, the fast bowler Mohammad Sami and batsmen Faisal Iqbal and Khurrum Manzoor also deserved a place in the squad. "I respect the selection but four players ? Younus, Sami, Iqbal and Manzoor ? deserved places in the team," said Latif.

Former batsman Basit Ali also slammed the exclusion of Younus and Sami. "If it's an injustice to Iqbal and Khurrum then it's the height of injustice to Younus and Sami," said Ali. "Younus carries Pakistan's batting and he will be missed badly." Ali said Younus's omission was "unacceptable" given that both captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis had said that they wanted him in the team. "I think this team was selected by Butt and manager Yawar Saeed, who want their say in selection," said Ali. * AFP

Test squad: Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Umar Amin, Azhar Ali, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Zulqarnain Haider, Muhammad Asif, Umar Gul, Muhammad Aamer, Wahab Riaz, Tanvir Ahmed, Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal Limited-overs squad: Salman Butt, Shahzaib Hasan, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Muhammad Aamir, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Rehman, Fawad Alam