Pakistan news April 24, 2014

PCB proposed domestic revamp will end department cricket


The Pakistan Cricket Board is developing an extensive plan to restructure domestic cricket that will see the end of department teams, who will be invited to participate in the functioning of regional teams. The proposal, generated by Haroon Rashid, the board's director of game development, is yet to be made public though it has been circulated among the PCB top brass.

The revamp is a step forward in allowing regional cricket to function independently and to make regional cricket self-sustaining. The PCB currently funnels over Rs 30 crore every calendar year to keep it alive.

Players are in line for a 100% hike in salary and funding of domestic cricket will gain three sources - the departments, sponsors and PCB. The plan's premise is that limiting the quantity of teams will heighten the quality of domestic cricket and allow regions to focus more on the players and build a viable talent pool.

The proposal - a copy is with ESPNcricinfo - reveals a new administration comprising five members: the regional president, a representative from the department, treasurer, marketing officer and one member from the PCB. Departments whose average annual budget is Rs 30 million are meant to inject the money in regional setup. And the PCB will offer monetary assistance on the basis of the region's performance.

The changes are yet to be presented to the stakeholders and are currently being evaluated by the constitution committee. It requires unequivocal support from the departments, but ESPNcricinfo understands they are not in favour of the proposal and would rather work independent of running regional cricket.

"We have our unique culture within our country and we can't just deny it," one of the department heads told ESPNcricinfo. "There is always room for improvement but this is not a solution as every corporate department has its own sports policy and it can't be dictated by the PCB. The relationship between departments and regions had never been comfortable as there are contrasting schools of thought among both the stakeholders.

"Sports departments were initiated to support the individual players and not the sports body. The plan has no feasibility. None of the regional or department representations were consulted."

Pakistan was recognised as the second-largest cricket-playing country last year with as many as 537 grade one cricketers in their first-class tournaments. That count will decrease to 180 according to the new structure. The move is aimed at weeding out cricketers with limited skills making teams on the basis of recommendations.

Forty percent of domestic players from last year were under 25. The remaining were over 30, including 28 players who were over 35. Despite the vast resources, Pakistan failed to identify a single promising prospect last season and has given Rashid reason to push his suggestions.

The structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan has been highly fluid, with revamps occurring every two years in the past decade. The format of the first-class tournament was changed as recently as Zaka Ashraf's regime. Unlike this proposal, the previous one was centered on separating the regions and departments to play their own tournaments. The Quad-e-Azam trophy, the country's premier first-class tournament, was limited to 14 regional teams with the top eight participating in in the main draw and the rest competing in a plate league. Regions could recruit five players from departments and four of whom can be part of the playing XI.

In the President's Trophy, as many as 11 departmental teams played a round-robin league phase, with the top two teams making the final. The departmental teams are: Pakistan International Airlines, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, Khan Research Laboratories, Sui National Gas Pipelines Limited, Water and Power Development Authority, State Bank of Pakistan, United Bank Limited, Port Qasim Authority and Pakistan Television.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jinnieboy on April 29, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    It is nice to see people from across the globe shared their views on Osman's article. As a passionate cricket follower having played the game at top level and serve in various capacities in PCB from grass root level to the present position, I feel it is my duty to suggest a way forward to bring a new face of Pakistan domestic cricket that would help to see a better future for our cricket and cricket players. I am surprised to see number of articles being written against this proposal that has not seen the light yet. I would suggest that it is only justifiable to write once the idea has been understood first and then every one has the right to comment for and against the proposal. I can only say at this point in time that in my humble submission, if implemented the entire Pakistan domestic cricket would be run on professional footings and would be more qualitative / productive.

  • PuneetDhawan on April 29, 2014, 0:59 GMT

    This is an excellent suggestion by this guy Haroon Rasheed. All over the world big corporates are the main sponsors of the domestic teams. The main soccer team of the big NY market is called NY Red Bulls, sponsored of course by Red Bull. Pakistan can also have the same equivalents, for eg, HBL Karachiites, PIA Lahoris, etc. This way there will be regional fan alliance, along with the big corporate backing for sponsorship. The corporates opposing it are missing the big picture, as this will bring them more value for money, as more people will follow this tournament, bringing better bang for their advertising bucks!

  • adilnzir on April 25, 2014, 10:05 GMT

    if you do not have a rationale for your decisions at least try to instill some sanity. Pakistan Cricket would annihilate if young cricketers do not see a secure future for themselves and for their families. Provide jobs to talented cricketers, they would win laurels for the country.

  • dummy4fb on April 25, 2014, 8:06 GMT

    Can be a better change but proper support from people and administration is required. I hope ICC does involve in this to make it better.

  • dummy4fb on April 25, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    The drop from 500+ to 180 is a good thing. It is an example of quality beats quantity. 180 quality players will be playing Pakistan's top domestic tournaments. The rest of the players can play second and third tier tournaments and improve their game. The first tier should be paid more than the rest, giving incentives to other players to improve their game. Domestic cricket should be well paid so that people who take up cricket are secure. Otherwise there won't be huge incentives to play cricket in Pakistan. This would work a lot better than the current system. The 1st Division tournament should in fact be publicized and broadcasted on TV, it's the only way to improve the standards in Pakistan.

  • getsetgopk on April 25, 2014, 2:39 GMT

    Well atleast they know there is a problem and since nothing gets solved in Pakistan, everything is just fine! But seriously, whatever first class structure left in pakistan is because of strong support from departments. These are private entities and there is no politics involved in it and if they try to change that and give control over to regions then, well I can only imagine the chaos. Nobody wants to support departmental cricket but without them there will be nothing left to support.

  • android_user on April 24, 2014, 21:13 GMT

    This proposal is to abolish department cricket not 'boost department cricket'. This will hopefully improve regional cricket quality and standards and strengthen Pakistan cricket. These big departments should along side pcb and various sponsors work as financial backers for our domestic cricket teams

  • android_user on April 24, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    i think there will be huge clashes between departments and government bodies by this. departments have their own budgeting, strategies and government have their own dictatorship strategy. although their are rooms for improvememt but it seems to have so many miscommunication chances.

  • dummy4fb on April 24, 2014, 18:51 GMT

    The Proposals do look good and I do feel they can benefit Pakistan cricket but however I feel that the Pakistani Cricket set up will have many obstacles which will stop this from functioning properly. You cant make this work with all departments opposing it, if forcefully put through, I feel the departments will do everything in their power to stop this and try to make it collapse.

  • dummy4fb on April 24, 2014, 18:31 GMT

    I think this is a good move. Nobody will ever support these department... Make it on regional basis and create a rivalry and competition among players and boost the interest of people in the game.

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