Proposal to abolish departmental cricket in Pakistan

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is contemplating a radical change in its domestic cricket structure which would see the abolishment of departmental cricket after nearly five decades in the country.
A PCB source told PTI that at the last managing committee meeting held in Lahore this month, Chairman Najam Sethi had expressed his dissatisfaction with the prevailing domestic cricket structure which is split into first class tournaments for departments/banks and regional cricket associations.
“Apparently a proposal has been sent to the constitution committee of the board to incorporate in the constitution which would convert the domestic structure based on regional cricket,” the source said.
“The radical proposal is that departments and banks instead of fielding their own teams should take over sponsorship/management of a region which would play the first class tournament,” he said.
“Under the proposal a department /bank would be asked to provide around 20 million rupees financial assistance to a region with the board also contributing a similar amount.
“The concerned department or bank will than have two of its representatives on a management committee which will also include two office bearers of the concerned regional association and a representative of the board which will than select and manage the regional team in the domestic cricket season,” he explained.
Under the proposal, the department or bank which provides patronage to a region will also provide a certain number of players for the regional team in the first class and one-day tournaments.
But apparently the radical plan has already hit a snag with some leading departments and banks questioning the wisdom of this move as they point out it would eventually lead to closure of sports departments and unemployment of players.
“The board in its proposal sent to the constitution committee which includes two former high court judges says that the funds provided by the concerned department/bank and board shall be used to pay handsome salaries and match fees to the regional team players,” the source said.
A senior official of a bank said the idea was not practical as it would lead to mass unemployment and also that departments and banks would be reluctant to get involved in regional associations.
He pointed out there was politics in regional associations and even they wouldn`t like interference from a third party or sponsor in team matters.
The official said the radical idea had been floated by a former test player, Haroon Rasheed who is now Director Game development in the board.
“Ironically Haroon himself is a product of departmental cricket and now he is hell bent on reducing or ending the active role of departments and banks in domestic cricket,” he said.
Another senior bank official who is a former Test player pointed out that due to the different culture and social environment in Pakistan departments and banks had always played a big part in domestic cricket.
“It is unfair to compare our domestic structure with countries like Australia, England or South Africa where there is a different culture altogether and their cricket is based at grass root level around clubs and than counties or states.
“In Pakistan departments and banks have provided the backbone for domestic cricket by providing employment to players who are picked from regional sides,” he added.
PTI