The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is all set to revive a two-decade old format of holding first-class and one-day matches together in one of the major changes that have been made in domestic cricket in recent years.
The change will come into effect in the upcoming domestic season which is likely to start at the end of October.
Former skipper Rashid Latif, who currently looks after Port Qasim Authority (PQA), had been suggesting for some time that the tournaments should be held together in a bid to save all the departments’ resources. The format is already followed regularly in domestic U19 tournaments.
When the board’s domestic cricket officials were contacted, they confirmed that the change had been made on the request of the departments.
“Four-day [first-class] and one-day matches will be held simultaneously from now on,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“This format was used back in the 1990s and we’ve revived it because it will save a lot of money for the departments in a cyclical form. Each cycle will be a week long and will start with a four-day match [first-class] followed by a day’s rest and then a 50-over match played between the same teams. This way, one week will end with a two-day break.”
Additionally, the departmental and regional tournaments will be held separately, but they will start at the same time. Consequently, the players representing their departmental teams will not be able to represent their regional outfits.
Squad limit also increased
With the number of increase in matches, the PCB has also increased the squad limit for teams so that in case of injuries, the sides have enough resources to cope with the diverse and lengthier format.
“The squad limit has been increased from 20 players to 25 which will enable departments to induct one-day specialists, while their bases will also be covered if there are injuries,” he added.
Any replacement sought by the teams outside the 25-man squad will only be given if any of their players have gone on national duty to represent Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Latif lauded the PCB’s move and termed it positive.
“It will be easier for the departments to assemble their teams for these tournaments and will save time and money,” said Latif. “Previously, there used to be a gap of a month or more between one-day and first-class tournaments which made things difficult for departments.
“Regions have always been a nursery to produce new talent and hopefully we’ll see new good players coming up this season.” Another change is the replacement of the costly Kookaburra balls with locally made Grays. Kookaburra balls had cost the PCB nearly Rs10,000 per piece last year and there were complaints against its quality as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2013.