Pakistan's domestic cricket system designed in accordance with the conditions prevailing in the country has proved pretty successful despite the dislikes of some giants of the game. Since participation in domestic cricket is compulsory for the players representing Pakistan, all the super stars who brought laurels to the country including the top honor of winning the World Cup-92 and other major tournaments are the off springs of this system.
It is a multiple system that caters for the participation of teams from cities, districts and civil divisions as well as teams from various government departments and private organizations and institutions. The system encompasses a number of tournaments of different types, grades and duration. While the matches from one day to four days duration are played, the teams are graded and placed in tournaments according to their prowess in the game.
The domestic cricket season commences in the month of September and ends in April every year. The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (named after the father of the nation), which is the top tournament, has just concluded with Lahore Blues winning the championship. The Patron's Trophy is the 2nd premier tournament of the country. Participated by teams from government departments and private organizations, it is divided into two tiers named as Grade-1 and Grade-II.
Patron's Trophy Grade-1
The senior string of the tournament for the year 2000-2001 includes the teams from Pakistan Customs, Habib Bank Ltd (HBL), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Khan Research Labs (KRL), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP), Allied Bank (ABL) and Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).
The tournament that takes off on February 20 and concludes on April 11, 2001, shall comprise of 29 four-day matches, played on Round Robin League system.
If one goes by the names of players participating in the tournament the HBL appears to be the strongest team. The nominal roll contains the prominent players like, Ijaz Ahmed, Younis Khan, Hasan Raza, Moin-ul-Atiq, Akram Raza, Kabir Khan, Shahid Nazir and Irfan Fazil. Good old Saleem Malik, an accused of the match fixing scandal is reported to have requested a civil court to allow him to play for the HBL, a team that he captained for many years.
Equally strong appears to be the team from ABL which includes some good players like Aaqib Javed, Aamer Sohail, Manzoor Akhtar, Wajahatullah Wasti, Humayun Farhat, Arshad Khan, Ata ur Rehman and Aamer Nazir.
The PIA team is led by the former test player Asif Mujtaba, who continues to perform well on the domestic circuit and includes other promising cricketers like, Ghulam Ali, Shoaib Malik, Faisal Iqbal, Zahid Fazal, Nadeem Khan and Fazl-e-Akbar.
The remaining teams have one or two prominent players each combined with the bunch of youngsters. Among the well-known types, Ali Naqvi and Wasim Yousufi play for Pakistan Customs, Mansoor Rana and Zahoor Elahi for ADBP, Naved Ashraf and Yasir Arafat for KRL, while Shahid Anwar, Qaisar Abbas and Shabbir Ahmed represent the NBP.
Patron's Trophy Grade-11
The participants of the junior tier of the tournament would be, Sui Gas Corporation of Pakistan, Pakistan Education Board, Service Industries, National Development Finance Corporation (NDFC), Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD), Pakistan Army, Pakistan University Grants Commission (UGC) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF).
The tournament that starts on February 21 and finishes on March 31, 2001 shall also comprise of 29 matches but of three-days duration to be played on league basis. Not having very many prominent players on their rolls, these departments mostly rely on the promising upcoming youngsters.
The matches of the two tournaments shall be played simultaneously at different cricket centers in the country.