Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt defended the removal of bans and fines on players who were penalised just three months ago for indiscipline during the disastrous tour of Australia.

Butt said all the decisions pertaining to the lifting of the bans and fines by the appeals commissioner Justice (retd) Irfan Qadir were taken as per the constitution of the board.

“The fact is also that we have sent out a clear message to the players that we will no longer tolerate anyone spreading discord in the team or violating the code of conduct,” Butt said.

The PCB had banned former skippers Younus Khan, Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik and all-rounder Rana Naved on the basis of a probe into the team's shambolic tour to Australia early this year.

The board, on the recommendations of its inquiry committee, also heavily fined Shahid Afridi and the Akmal brothers for indiscipline and misconduct.

Yousuf, who led Pakistan in Australia, announced his retirement after the ban but the others appealed against their penalties. Qadir last week removed the ban from Malik and Younus and also waived the Rs three million fine on Afridi and halved the fines on the Akmal brothers.

Butt made it clear that the board had not taken a u-turn on the issue of disciplining the players. “There is no u-turn. According to the board constitution the players have the right to appeal and we followed that procedure to the hilt.”

Butt also said that the fine on Afridi was removed after seeking clarification from the ICC, which had already banned him for two matches after the ball-tampering incident in Australia.

Only Rana Naved has to have his one-year ban and fine of Rs two million removed by the appeal's commissioner who is due to hear him next week. The PCB Chairman didn't agree that the board had sent out a wrong message to the players by removing the bans and fines so abruptly.

“There was no pressure but there were requests to reconsider the penalties. The national assembly standing committee on sports also asked us to reconsider. But whatever we did was strictly according to the provisions of the constitution,” he added.

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