KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is under great pressure from the department and regions’ players over a new domestic structure which might be implemented this year, the Press Trust of India reported.
The PCB in its recent General Body meeting announced a new system in which lesser teams were proposed to be made part of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy, Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament.
In detail, top six departments and six regions will directly qualify for the Quaid Trophy, while two teams – from departments and regions – will have to go through a non-first-class qualification tournament which is scheduled to start from August 1. The domestic season usually starts in mid-September with first-class events.
The players participating in different leagues across the globe, especially in the United Kingdom, have also raised concerns over the new structure and the proposed dates for qualification round.
Some departments are even contemplating legal action against the PCB for implementing the new structure. Players have complained that if they leave their foreign clubs midway the club/employers will not offer them a contract for next year.
“It is understandable because if we return midway obviously these clubs are not going to be happy and they will look for overseas professionals from other countries which will badly affect our livelihood,” one player said, requesting anonymity.
The player went on to explain how the decision would clash with their schedule in England. “If we lose this chance to earn abroad how will we manage because there is no real money for domestic players in Pakistan,” another player said.
A senior official of one department said that they were musing upon the option of going to the court to get a stay order against the implementation of the new structure.
“Last year when they implemented a new structure they said it would be tried out for three years now all of a sudden they have decided to change it this year. If our teams can’t play in the main first class event how will we justify employing top players to our institutions and spending so much funds on the cricket team. We can’t do that just for a non-first class event,” he complained.
Around 24 teams took part in the domestic first class tournament last year, including departments and regions. If the PCB goes ahead with its new domestic structure it would mean top departmental teams such as the PIA, State Bank, KRL, ZTBL, Sui Southern Gas, United Bank — all companies that employ top players on high salaries — would have to appear in a non-first class qualifying tournament from which only two of them can qualify for the first class Quaid Trophy.
Only last month Sui Southern hired top players like Muhammad Aamir, Umar Amin, Babar Azam, Zafar Gohar on high salaries.
Former players and experts have blamed Pakistan’s domestic structure for inconsistencies in the national squad and even Test captain Misbahul Haq broached on the issue at the end of the second Test in Sri Lanka where his team lost to the hosts last week.
Pakistan’s former captain, Rashid Latif has also written to the PCB asking them to reconsider their decision to change the domestic structure. (Agencies)