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Wisden Cricinfo staff
The Pakistan board (PCB) has decided to increase the number of teams from eight to 12 for next month's Patron's Trophy tournament. The decision was taken following requests by the leading teams who had originally failed to qualify for the competition.
Initially, the board had decided to pick the two top teams from each of the four groups, and with the inclusion of Bangladesh, make it a nine-team tournament played on a single league basis. Now, however, they have decided to promote the top three teams and make it a 13-team event.
In the first group are PIA, Customs, DHA, Wapda, KRL, PTCL, and Bangladesh. While the second includes ZTBL, KPT, NBP, Sui Gas, ABL and HBL. The four teams who benefited from the new ruling were DHA (from Pool A), PTCL (from Pool B), NBP (from Pool C) and HBL (from Pool D).
The revised draws will take place on Friday, but it has been decided that Pool A matches will begin from December 7 and will be played in Karachi and Hyderabad, while Rawalpindi and Peshawar will host the Pool B games that will begin from December 14.
According to the new format, there will be 37 first-class matches, as compared to 36 in the previous one. The only difference will be that where previously, each team was guaranteed eight first-class matches, now the Pool A teams will get a minimum of six first-class matches and Pool B teams will get a minimum of five.
"The teams have been included taking into account the past performances and contributions of particularly HBL and NBP for the promotion of the game in the country," said a spokesman of the Domestic Cricket Monitoring Committee (DCMC). "The objective of the PCB is to have a competitive domestic season. But at the same time, it wants to see the cricketers getting employment and securing their futures. The board is pleased to see that this season a lot of young cricketers have been hired by the departments."
He added: "The PCB is also happy to see that even for the non first-class inter-departmental qualifying tournament, quite a few leading players appeared. Their objective was clear that they wanted their teams to play first-class cricket. The PCB is glad that players sensed their responsibilities and played in the matches that certainly made the none first-class event a little more competitive,"