After much deliberation, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally confirmed that the Faysal Bank National Twenty20 Cup will take place from December 1 to December 9 at three different venues in Lahore – a move instigated by Misbahul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez’s request of increasing the number of matches played per team.
The event comprises 14 teams – after the latest addition of Bahawalpur Stags – divided into two groups and a total of 45 matches to be played across the LCCA Ground, Bagh-e-Jinnah and the Gaddafi Stadium with matches being played at the PCB’s headquarters being telecast live by PTV Sports. Each team will play six round matches following which the top two from each group move into the semi-finals. Tournament winners are set to receive Rs2m while the runners-up will end up pocketing Rs1m.
Since the launch of the national twenty20 event, even a single loss in the round matches would result in the team’s ouster from the event, often robbing players the chance to show their mettle.
“Misbah and Hafeez suggested that we should increase the number of matches in this event to get the best out of the players and we respected that suggestion,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune. “There is an important series against India coming up next month and the captains felt that the national players also needed competitive practice under their belts. After analysing the last editions of the event, we felt that the teams refuse to field youngsters because of fear of failure. But now they have a chance to gamble and try new players.”
The official added that the matches will be completed before 1930 local time in order to avoid the dew factor and the insects that have hampered proceedings in the past.
Meanwhile, the players have also welcomed the move of increasing the number of matches, adding that they can now go and play fearlessly given the team now has more chances to progress. A leading national Twenty20 specialist said that with the changed format, every team will now need to work hard to get into the semis and a single fluke will not work in their favour anymore.
“The teams will now need to perform well throughout the event to move into the semi-finals which will increase the level of competition,” he said. “Previously, flukes worked for the dark horses but now they will need to be consistent. In addition, youngsters will be fielded by teams as six matches are a lot to make changes.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2012.