The PCB has introduced a revamped domestic one-day tournament, called the Pakistan Cup, to replace the existing Pentangular Cup. The tournament will be played between five provincial teams, starting April 19 in Faisalabad.
The format will remain the same as the Pentangular Cup, but the process of picking players has been altered - the traditional selection process has been replaced with a draft system. It will allow a pre-announced captain and coaches to pick their 15-man squads from a list of 150 cricketers in 15 rounds. There was no reason given for the selection process being changed.
The five teams from the five provinces - Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a team from Federal Capital of Pakistan - will remain the same. The PCB announced Azhar Ali will lead Balochistan, Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq will lead Federal Capital, Younis Khan will take the reins of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shoaib Malik will captain Punjab and Sarfraz Ahmed will lead Sindh.
The draft took place in Lahore, where Punjab picked Salman Butt as their opening batsman while Sindh went for Mohammad Amir. Mohammad Asif, however, was not picked by any of the five teams. Mohammad Hafeez, who is suffering from a knee injury, remained unavailable for selection. In order to promote young cricketers, each team had to pick one regional Under-19 player in their 15-man squad.
The Pakistan domestic structure has been inconsistent for decades with changes occurring every two years. Their domestic season starts in August with Grade-2 tournaments, and ends with the limited-overs tournaments by March. The PCB had introduced a completely new first-class system in 2015 and the announcement of the Pakistan Cup reflects the varying nature of planning in the domestic set up. It was understood that there were commercial reasons behind the timing of the event.
"Our public loves cricket and we are trying to further elevate our product," Najam Sethi, the chairman of the PCB executive committee, said. "There is greater involvement of senior cricketers with the draft process in place. Players will also receive a 100% increase in remuneration and the support staff is very experienced. We are celebrating unity in diversity and I urge the fans to come and watch these matches in the stadium."
Punjab: Salman Butt, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Asif Ali, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saad Nasim, Amir Yameen, Shoaib Malik (capt), Ehsan Adil, Amad Butt, Adnan Ghaus, Zulfiqar Babar, Saif Badar
Sindh: Khurram Manzoor, Sami Aslam, Mohammad Waqas, Shoaib Maqsood, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Saad Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Ruman Raeez, Hassan Khan
Balochistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Owais Zia, Ramiz Raja (junior), Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Shahid Yousaf, Mohammad Hasan, Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Umar Gul, Imran Khan, Osama Mir, Saeed Ajmal
Federal: Sharjeel Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Iftikhar Ahmed, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asif Zakir, Hammad Azam, Sarmad Bhatti, Arsal Sheikh, Imran Khalid, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Irfan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas
KPK: Ahmed Shahzad, Fakhar Zaman, Younis Khan (capt), Rameez Aziz, Naveed Yasin, Musadiq Ahmed, Bismillah Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Rahat Ali, Azarullah, Sadaif Mehdi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Zohaib Khan, Hayatullah