Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has unveiled an ambitious and competitive 2019-20 domestic cricket structure, which revolves around the creation of a more quality and intensity focused system to significantly improve first-class cricket and create sustainable success at international level.
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.
The structure has come into existence following the Government of Pakistan’s August 9 approval of the constitutional amendments, which were notified to the PCB on August 19, meaning 16 regions have now been absorbed into the newly formed associations.
The new domestic structure will be based on a three-tiered bottom up approach; providing a clear pathway for the aspiring cricketers to graduate to the top level, bringing in more young and talented cricketers in the system.
The three-layered structure will function as follows:
In the first tier, the 90 city cricket associations will be responsible for organising club and school cricket in their respective jurisdictions and subsequently forming their city cricket teams.
In the second tier, the city cricket teams will participate in intra-city competitions within the jurisdiction of their cricket associations.
In the third tier, the best performing players from the intra-city competitions will form the six respective cricket association side that will participate in the PCB-organised tournaments
Pakistan’s cricketing season 2019-20 will commence from September 14 with the first round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the country’s premier first-class tournament.
A total number of 31 matches – including the final – will be played, with every team playing 10 matches, home and away, on double round-robin basis.
With the commencement of the World Test Championship, red ball cricket remains a primary focus. The context behind the new scheduling will provide players with an opportunity to stake their claim and to equip themselves for the pressures of the Test Championship.
The first-class and non-first-class tournaments will run simultaneously, providing the six associations depth to choose the best XI for their first class matches. The same will be the case for the List ‘A’ and T20 cricket.
Reflecting on the 2019-20 domestic season, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, “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 added.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, on the other hand, said, “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. We firmly believe this structure will not only help the PCB raise a team that can play in the 2021 final but also an opportunity to the talented and skilled cricketers to represent Pakistan in the purist format of the game.
“Our scheduling of white ball cricket will also give us every chance of being successful at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cups 2020 and 2021, and will support our preparation for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023," he signed off.
The full schedule domestic schedule for 2019-20 season is as follows :
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 U19 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 simultaneously): 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.