PCB hoping India series, T20 league boost finances
Pakistan is looking at the proposed India series and the Twenty20 league it has planned as means to overcome a shortfall of 70 crore Pakistani rupees (US$7.5 million approx) in its budget for 2011-12. The deficit was confirmed at the board's governing council meet in Lahore on Wednesday.
The PCB has been facing a financial crunch mainly because of teams refusing to tour Pakistan due to security concerns following the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 - since then, Pakistan has been forced to host teams at neutral venues. The 2010-2011 budget was also in the red, before it was boosted by the hefty compensation that the ICC paid the board, following Pakistan's removal as co-host of the 2011 World Cup.
"We are forced to play away from home, this makes a difference," a member of the PCB's governing board told ESPNcricinfo. "But we have plans and the board is optimistic that by the end of this fiscal year, [even if we do] not cover [the deficit], we will be able to reduce the gap."
In a statement, the PCB said: "The Board members deliberated extensively on the budget and noted that like previous years the budget is a deficit one. They were assured that by the end of the financial year every possible effort will be made to reduce the deficit."
At the meeting, the council also approved the creation of four new regional teams in domestic cricket. This means an increase in the number of regional teams from 11 to 15, with Larkana, Dera Murad Jamali, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and two-time Quaid-e-Azam champion Bahawalpur being the new units.
With Bahawalpur's induction, the number of teams from Punjab province has increased from five to six - Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi are the others - while Dera Murad Jamali will join Quetta from the Baluchistan province. Larkana will join Karachi and Hyderabad as the regional teams from the Sindh province. FATA is a semi-autonomous tribal region in the northwest of Pakistan.
Bahawalpur had been part of the Pakistan domestic structure until 1991, when it was merged with Multan.
Another major decision taken at the meeting was to make it a requirement for every private party interested in organising a cricket tournament at the domestic level to procure a no-objection certificate from the PCB. Without the NOC, no PCB contracted player would be able to participate in the tournament. This decision was made with a view to bring all domestic cricket under the umbrella of PCB and to ensure it is in line with the ICC's requirements on matters of corruption control, anti-doping, etc.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent