SNGPL look to make it two in two
Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited
SNGPL were the most successful team from last year, winning the President's Trophy final after topping the table with six victories and three drawn games. Their success was largely reliant on the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq, with help from the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Azhar Ali and veteran first-class batsman Taufeeq Umar. At full strength, they are the most formidable side going into the tournament, but this year's combination is likely to be inconsistent as their top players will be busy with the national side. Pakistan are currently in the UAE involved in a Test series against South Africa, and are scheduled to play Sri Lanka subsequently over the next two months. SNGPL also harbour some exciting young talents in wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan and left-hand batsman Ali Waqas.
Habib Bank Limited
Habib Bank bounced back strongly to capture second place last year, after being relegated to division two in the 2011-12 season (with the format later changing). They had won as many games - six - as SNGPL, but one loss put them below the champions with 51 points. They are a charismatic side, hosting two of Pakistan's best young openers in Ahmed Shehzad and Shan Masood. In addition to a strong batting line-up, the Younis Khan-led side has Umar Gul and Abdur Rehman to prop up the bowling department. However, with their top players likely to be called up for national duty, Habib Bank's efforts to create a winning outfit could be dented
National Bank of Pakistan
A team well known for their flair, NBP could only finish seventh last year. They are the biggest department in the country, but success has been hard to come by, having last won the Quaid-e-Azam tournament in 1987. Consistency with the bat could remedy that statistic and Akbar-ur-Rehman, Fawad Alam and Nasir Jamshed are charged with that. Jamshed, in particular, will be keen to showcase his talent in the longer format, after being dropped from the Test side following the South Africa tour. Left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, whose international comeback had been delayed due to a back injury, will be expected to provide most of the breakthroughs.
Pakistan International Airlines
In recent years, Pakistan International Airlines have looked a different side under the leadership of former national captain Shoaib Malik. Their last first-class title was two years ago, but finished fourth last year with the advent of the new format. The squad does not want for experience with Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Sajid, Shoaib Khan and Jan Nisar on call. Zia-ul-Haq, a promising left-arm fast bowler, who last played for National Bank of Pakistan, will join Aizaz Cheema and Anwar Ali to make a potent bowling attack.
United Bank Limited
Had a disappointing season last year, failing to win a single game and ending up at the bottom of the table. From being the top team in the Pakistan domestic circuit for a number of years, they missed 15 seasons of first-class cricket and only returned to top-grade competition in 2011. Their top scorer last year was Abid Ali, with 580 runs including one century and two fifties.
A new recruit into grade one cricket, Pakistan Television were given direct entry after qualifying from the grade two level. Most of their players have been picked up from those who were left over from the other competing departments and their focus will be on getting acquainted with this level of cricket and settling in swiftly as possible.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here