The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday announced an ambitious revamp to its domestic cricket structure for the upcoming 2019-20 season in a bid to improve the quality of first-class cricket as well as the talent pool for the national team.
The most significant development in the new structure sees the reduction of the numbers of first-class teams from 16 to six. The 16 regions have now been absorbed into the six newly formed associations which are Sindh, Central Punjab, Southern Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Northern Cricket Association.
Each of the six associations will be responsible for running the first-class team for their respective regions along with a second XI. They will also need to organise U19, school and club cricket in their territory in the framework provided by the PCB.
The new domestic structure follows a three-tiered bottom up approach. In the first tier, a total of 90 city cricket associations will be responsible for organising club and school cricket in their respective jurisdictions before subsequently forming the city cricket teams.
The city cricket teams will then participate in intra-city competitions within the jurisdiction of their respective regional association in the second tier. The third and final tier will see the best performing players from the intra-city competitions go on to form the six regional cricket association teams which will then participate in tournaments organised by the PCB.
Along with the changes in the domestic structure, the PCB has also decided to replace the Duke balls currently being used in all competitions with Kookaburra balls. Player earnings are also set to increase in the new structure with each association given the power to award annual domestic contracts to 32 players from a pool of non-PCB centrally contracted players.
“We are delighted to announce that we have achieved the target of reforming our domestic structure. One of the key priorities of this PCB administration is to enhance the quality of cricket, which will in due course also begin to reflect in our on-field performances at the international level,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani stated.
“We want to develop consistency in our performances, across all formats, at the apex level so these reforms were pertinent.
“The PCB will provide assistance to the provincial associations in setting up the structure, which will include helping them in assembling a council – which will look after the affairs – and aiding them in attaining sponsorship deals.”
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