The PCB is set to introduce 10 day-night matches to be played with the pink ball in its forthcoming domestic first-class season starting in September. The idea will be implemented in Quaid-e-Azam (QEA) Trophy matches, including the semi-final and final, to ensure every top team is acquainted with the new conditions. The governing board of the PCB approved the idea recommended by the domestic cricket committee as Pakistan are set to play their first pink-ball Test against Australia in Brisbane in December.
The format of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy has been retained from last year; it had changed almost every second year on average, and last season's revamp was the third such change in the last five years. There has been a change in the one-day structure though. The National One-Day Cup, which featured 16 teams divided into two pools last season, has now been split into two tournaments - one with eight regional teams and the other with eight department teams. The Pakistan Cup, which replaced the Pentangular Cup recently, will continue to have five provincial teams. The domestic season will kick-off with the National Super Eight T20 Cup in the last week of August.
The QEA Trophy will be played by 16 teams, and 12 of those - six regional and six departmental - will gain automatic qualification on the basis of their performance last season. The last four places will be filled through a qualifying round introduced by the PCB, which will be played between 14 teams. The top two regional and departmental teams will qualify for the main tournament.
The day-night first-class schedule has been designed with a focus on the top teams, to give ample exposure to national cricketers ahead of the Brisbane Test. The PCB has been encouraging the pink-ball trial for the last six years, though they did not extend the experiment beyond a few games. In 2010-11, the final of the QEA Trophy was played with an orange ball in Karachi and the 2011-12 final was played with a pink ball. Earlier this year, the QEA final between Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited, led by Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, and United Bank, captained by Younis Khan, received mixed reactions.
Though the PCB was pleased with the trial, the major concern among the players was the visibility of the ball and its quality once it got older. Most of the players backed having more games with the pink ball to get familiar with its behaviour.