By Syed Intikhab Ali
A sense of frustration is spreading among those who devoted their lives in the promotion of cricket due to the wrong domestic cricket policies of PCB.
Around 70 percent Pakistan cricket regions are feeling neglected because they have not been considered for the domestic T20 competition starting from 25th August, a survey conducted by scoreline.org revealed.
The new format has excluded Sialkot, five times champions of the domestic T20 championship, Faisalabad, three times champions, the entire Baluchistan, the entire South Punjab, and various parts of central Punjab.
The domestic tournament used to be like a league tournament with teams of cities competing.
There were 18 teams till last year but now PCB has reduced the team count to eight.
This domestic T20 Cup has been played for the past 11 years with 18 teams participating in it to fight for the title.
The new structure will consist of eight teams. Of them two teams are from Lahore and two from Karachi. And it has been declared a regional tournament.
Test cricketer Muhammad Salman, when contacted, said that it was regrettable that those regions that had provided the most talented players to the country such as Faisalabad, Sialkot, Multan and Abbottabad had been ignored.
He said that narrow-minded officials of PCB and its domestic committee members have taken Pakistan to 9th position in ODIs with their erratic policies.
They have destroyed the domestic cricket by changing the formats every year in the name of quality. The T20 world ranking of Pakistan is 7th, so one can imagine the performance of PCB’s domestic cricket policy makers, he said.
He said PCB officials talk about the formats in England and Australia but Pakistan is much different from those countries.
“England has 22 first-class teams with 60 million population and Australia has eight teams with 20 million population. Pakistan is a country of 200 million. How can talented cricketers from across the country be fitted into just eight teams?” he asked.
He alleged that PCB’s domestic committee chairman Shakeel Shaikh always favored his Islamabad division team. “They are in all domestic events whether there are ten teams or eight,” he said.
He said it was ridiculous that Pakistan’s most successful captain Misbah would play under the captaincy of some other player for Karachi.
The PCB’s policies are destroying the Pakistan domestic cricket by introducing each and every year with changing formats, he said.
Salman who has played for Faisalabad, ABL, Port Qasim Authority, SNGPL, said excluding Sialkot and Faisalabad was idiotic.
He said Islamabad and Rawalpindi had not produced good cricketers in the recent past and their own team consists of mostly outsiders, but those cities which produce cricketers like Misbah, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Saeed Ajmal are prevented from playing in domestic cricket.
Amir Nawab, a former member of PCB’s governing body, lashed out at PCB’s habit to change formats every year, saying the latest format would be disastrous for Pakistan cricket.
He said that all decisions were taken in the PCB on the basis of personal likes and dislikes.
He said that if regions like Abbottabad, Hyderabad, Azad Kashmir, FATA, Balochistan were neglected, they would not be able to produce young talented cricketers.
He said PCB has not conducted elections in Rawalpindi, Abbottabad, Dir and Mansehra because they knew that people they like would lose elections.
Amir said that many deserving cricketers like Khalid Usman, who was the leading wicket taker in the last three domestic T20 events, were not given any chance. He wasn’t even called to the training camp, he added.
Similar treatment was meted out to Hyderabad’s Azeem Ghuman and Karachi’s Fawad Alam and Abbottabad’s Junaid Khan, he claimed. “Who is responsible for destroying the careers of these talented cricketers!” he said.
Amir said that PCB high-ups should realise where they were taking the domestic cricket by changing the format every year. “If the situation continues cricket will meet the same fate that hockey has met. The young generation will shy away from the great game of cricket when they see no future for them, he said.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that affected regional cricket associations and departments, who were severely affected by frequent changes in policies, were considering adopting a joint strategy to express their sufferings and point of view to PCB.