LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board Saturday unveiled new 2019-20 domestic cricket structure, which the board dubbed as ‘an ambitious and competitive’ structure that would bring more quality instead of quantity.

The new structure will give importance to club cricket, provide the best cricketing environment to young talented cricketers, reward top performers, create employment opportunities to former cricketers and qualified coaches, and bridge the gap between domestic and international cricket.

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “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. We want to develop consistency in our performances, across all formats, at the apex level so these reforms were pertinent.”

He said the PCB would 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.

Previously, there were as many as 16 teams playing, adding up to a total of 69 first-class games per season. With the new structure, six teams will play only 31 first-class games - 16 T20s and 31 one-dayers - and they will be required to regulate the game across levels - the main team, the second XI, the Under-19s, the Under-16s, the Under-13s, and intra-city cricket. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said a clear pathway is being laid out for the club cricketers to graduate to the provincial level cricket at the apex level.

“In all, approximately 450 players, coaches, physios, selectors and other support staff will be involved in domestic cricket. The launch of the new domestic structure perfectly aligns with the World Test Championship, which commenced with the Ashes. Pakistan’s opening series is in October and we aspire to feature in the final which will be held at the end of the two-year cycle in 2021. The PCB strongly believes in primacy of Test cricket, which is the traditional format of the game and in which we have slipped in our performances,” he added. “The PCB has worked extremely hard behind the scenes to make this happen. But we also understand there may be a few teething issues in the first year of the new structure, but I assure all stakeholders we will address these professionally and ensure the 2020-21 is smoother,” added Mani.

To put the model on the road, the PCB has formed an eight-member committee, which will run the association and later hand things over to the respective provinces. The panel will be made up of PCB’s own nominees, representatives of the associations and principal sponsors, with the CEO, the CFO, and the selection committee helping them.

The structure will have three tiers. In the first, the lowest, the 90 city associations will be responsible for organising club and school cricket in their respective jurisdictions and subsequently forming their city cricket teams. In the middle tier, the city teams will participate in intra-city events within the jurisdiction of their cricket associations. In the final tier, the best performing players from the intra-city competitions will form the six respective cricket association sides to participate in the PCB-organised tournaments.

Underpinning the pathway system will be six High Performance Programmes which will provide quality cricket and lifestyle plans to equip players with the all-round skills required in the modern game.

More incentives for

high-performing players

The players’ earnings will also increase in the new structure. Thirty-two non-PCB centrally contracted players would be awarded annual domestic contracts at each cricket association and will feature in first-class, non-first class, List ‘A’, and T20 tournaments during a season. The cricket associations will also be free to select players from outside the pool of 32 contracted players on per-match payment.

Each of the domestic contracted players will receive monthly retainers of PKR50,000 and it is anticipated that a high-performing player will earn between PKR2million and PKR2.5million per season in terms of allowances, match fees and prize money (details to be announced in due course).

Besides the players, the new structure is also expected to create employment opportunities for the qualified coaching staff and former cricketers. Along with the administrative roles, each cricket association will have a players’ support personnel staff which will include head coaches, batting coaches, bowling coaches, fielding coaches, trainers, physiotherapists and video analysts to look after first class, second XI, U19, U16, U13 teams and high performance programmes. There will also be three selectors working with a cricket association each.

The PCB has decided to implement Kookaburra balls across these tournaments to help prepare domestic cricketers better for the international cricket. Since Pakistan play their home Test cricket with the Kookaburra balls, having the same brand now in the first-class and non first-class tournaments will help the players prepare better for the challenges at the apex level. All limited-overs international cricket, including the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Women’s World Cup, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and the ICC T20 World Cups are also played with the Kookaburra balls.

Six associations

Sindh Cricket Association: Karachi, Hyderabad and Larkana

Balochistan Cricket Association: Dera Murad Jamali and Quetta

Southern Punjab Cricket Association: Multan and Bahawalpur

Central Punjab Cricket Association: Faisalabad, Sialkot and Lahore

KP Cricket Association: Peshawar, FATA and Abbottabad

Northern Cricket Association: Islamabad, Rawalpindi and AJK

Domestic events

Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class, four-day matches, final will be a five-day fixture): September 14 to October 8; October 28 to December 13

National U-19 tournament (three-day and one-day tournament): October 1 to November 12

Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (2nd XI, three-day matches, final will be a four-day fixture): September 14 to October 10; October 28 to November 29

National T20 Cup (both first and second XIs will play at the same time): October 13 to 24; first XIs will play in Faisalabad, second XIs will play in Karachi

Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament (both first and second XIs will play simultaneously): March 29 to April 24, 2020