In an unprecedented crackdown on indiscipline, the Pakistan Cricket Board indefinitely barred its former captains Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf from playing for the country and imposed one-year bans on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan in the wake of the team's disastrous tour of Australia.
The PCB also put the Akmal brothers -- Kamran and Umar -- and Shahid Afridi on probation for six months besides imposing fines between Rs 2-3 million for indiscipline on the tour after implementing the recommendations of an inquiry committee formed to evaluate Pakistan's dismal performance.
PCB's tough stand virtually puts an end to the international careers of Younis (32) and Yousuf (35) -- two of the country's most accomplished batsmen in the middle order -- and is bound to bring about wholesale changes in the team.
Pakistan were whitewashed in all the three formats of the game in Australia during the recent tour in December-January, following which the PCB had set up a six-member inquiry committee headed by Board's chief operating officer Wasim Bari.
The committee had recommended that Yousuf and Younis should no longer be part of the national team in any format because of their bad influence on the team and that Malik and Rana be banned for 12 months and fined Rs 2 million each, a statement from the PCB said.
PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar said the Board had decided to implement the recommendations of the inquiry committee to salvage Pakistan cricket.
"The committee was an independent set-up and they interviewed around 13 players and studied the reports of the manager, coach, assistant coach and captain before taking a decision," Sarwar said.
"The players, however, would have the right to appeal against the decisions and they can also talk to PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt for a review of the same," he said.
PCB's legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi, who was a member of the inquiry committee said that the players under the law had the right to appeal in any court against their punishments.
"The inquiry committee has based its recommendations on the hearings we held with the players and team officials and also after going through the reports of the team manager, coach, assistant coach and captain," he said.
"The inquiry committee has done what it felt was necessary to put Pakistan cricket back on the right track," he added.
The Board said that it had banned Yousuf and Younis from playing for Pakistan but they could continue to play domestic cricket and in foreign leagues.
"Mohammed Yousuf and Younis Khan, keeping in view their infighting which resulted in bringing down the whole team, their attitude has a trickle down effect which is a bad influence for the whole team. They should not be part of the national team in any format," the statement said, quoting the committee report.
The inquiry committee's report on Afridi said: "For the shameful act of Shahid Afridi, which has brought the game and country into disrepute, he be fined Rs 3 million.
"A warning be issued to him by the PCB Chairman and he be put on probation for six months, during which his conduct be strictly monitored."
The punishments are set to impact the composition of Pakistan's World Twenty20 Championship. The team is the defending champion in this format and the 15-man squad for the event is due to be out by the end of this month.
With Afridi also on a six-month probation, it is quite likely that a new captain will be named for Pakistan's upcoming international tournaments.
Although Rizvi claimed that the Board was on solid ground, Pakistan cricket has a history of major decisions being overturned by the court.
According to PCB sources, the report was discussed by the Board Chairman Butt with the national selection committee on Monday as part of the selection process for the Twenty20 WorldCup in the West Indies.
"Apparently at the meeting, there were mixed reactions to the strong recommendations keeping in mind that upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies where Pakistan defends its title," the source stated.
This is the first time in Pakistan cricket history that the Board has taken such strong disciplinary action against so many players at one time.
The 2000 Justice Qayyum report had similar repercussions but that was about the graver concerns of match fixing.