The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to take disciplinary action against the players, including indefinite ban on former captains Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, after confirming reports off internal strife in the team and after getting clearance from the Presidency, sources said on Wednesday.
Well placed sources said that the PCB had kept President Asif Zardari, chief patron of the board, and the sports ministry aware of the recommendations made by the inquiry committee which probed into the poor performance in Australia and into reports off infighting in the team.
"The board moved against the seven players after getting approval from the top," one source said.
The PCB said it had placed an indefinite ban on Yousuf and Younis as their infighting had had a bad influence on the team.
It also announced 12-month ban on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved and fines of three million rupees each on Shahid Afridi and Kamran Akmal and two million on Umar Akmal. The board had also placed Shahid and Kamran under a six-month probation.
One source said during the hearings of the inquiry committee and after speaking to the coach, manager, captain and other players and even the support staff, it became clear that some players had their own law in the team.
"After speaking to the players and officials and looking into the reports of the team management it became clear to the inquiry committee that some players were putting their personal egos and interests above team and national interest," one source said.
The source said that the strict action against Yousuf and Younis was taken because both were found guilty of putting at stake team interests while trying to settle personal scores with other players during the tours to Abu Dhabi, New Zealand and Australia.
"They didn't behave like senior players and captains. They unnecessarily dropped players who they had scores to settle with and it affected team morale and performances," the source said.
The source said that during the course of the inquiry it also emerged that a particular group of players including Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal had forced some other players to take an oath on the holy book during the Champions trophy in South Africa last year that they would not support Younis Khan as captain and to collectively complain to the board to remove him.
"One thing was clear that there were clear groupings in the team and that Shoaib Malik emerged as one of the main characters in this whole drama of intrigue and infighting," one source said.
"The committee found that Malik was responsible for not only instigating other players not to cooperate with the team management but also kept on encouraging groupings and running down players who just wanted to concentrate on their cricket and not be part of the groupings," the source disclosed.
He said that the issue of senior players refusing to play at the number three position in New Zealand and Australia was also discussed threadbare at the inquiry committee hearings.
"It was found that instead of setting an example for other players and supporting the captain some players kept on refusing to play at the number three spot causing rift in the team."
Another source said that the coach and manager had made it clear to the inquiry committee that this was the right time to take disciplinary action against the players to root out the culture of groupism within the team.
"Since the team had lost badly in Australia and public and media sentiments were against the players the board felt this was the right time move ahead with some hard decisions."