PCB meeting suggests ‘one first-class championship’

Sunday, June 17, 2007

KARACHI: For the third time in an eight-year span, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to tamper with the domestic cricket structure, aiming to put the various regions and departments together in a single first-class championship.

Among the various decisions taken regarding cricket within Pakistan, in a domestic cricket meeting arranged at the hill resort of Bhurban on Saturday, one detailed that now there will be “one first-class championship including regions and departments”.

This experiment has been conducted before. A total of 23 teams were put together in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Championship in 1999-00 and again there were 24 teams in the same competition held in 2002-03.

On either occasion, a department — Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) — emerged as the champion. In both instances, the system of having separate tournaments for regions/associations and departments was embraced again in subsequent seasons. The PCB meeting lists the “promotion/relegation system” at number two, something which is already in vogue here. The hope to have “overseas players” in our domestic cricket is expressed again.

An item mentions there will be “regional selectors plus PCB representatives” for each team. First-class cricketers are to be compensated — monetarily, most probably. The PCB also intends to “monitor” matches.

Club and school cricket will be run by associations but is to be financed by the PCB. There will be input of regions/associations in selection of regional coaches and funds will be raised for regional cricket associations “locally”.

There will be a sub-committee of the Board, the purpose of which was not quite clear and it has been suggested that regional and department representatives will form an “Advisory Council”.

More old wine in new bottles is the idea that “selection of regional teams not limited to squad but allowed to select any (guest) player”. The Regional Development Managers (RDMs) and Regional Development Officers (RDOs) will “support regional set-ups”.

The Pentangular tournament will be “for the 100 best players — provinces or zones”. The advisory council will meet quarterly, but initially it will have monthly meetings.

The structure of the first-class method will however be worked out in detail later. All national players will be urged to play first-class (domestic) cricket: “through central contracts”.

The next meeting of the PCB Advisory Council is to be held in Karachi on July 16. In Bhurban, the meeting was attented by all regional presidents, representatives of the eight departments that play first-class cricket, ex-cricketers and PCB officials and was chaired by the PCB Chief Dr Nasim Ashraf.

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