LAHORE: Pakistan's cricket administration on Wednesday unveiled a new domestic league revamp, though demands to remove commercial and government department teams from the competition were ignored.
Pakistan has long suffered from a below-par domestic structure. Many of its cricket heroes, such as Javed Miandad, honed their skills in street games rather than with teams.
All 26 teams, 12 departmental and 14 regional outfits, which were previously taking part in Quaid-e-Azam and President’s Trophy separately will now play jointly in one first-class tournament, Quaid-e-Azam trophy.
The new championship will have two divisions. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi said that under the new structure regional teams could receive private sponsorship so that they can compete with better-funded government departments and teams run by private companies such as banks.
But former captain and chief selector Aamir Sohail slammed the proposed changes and said the regional teams would struggle to compete financially.
"The PCB don't know how to administer the game. When regions don't have full fledged offices and no marketing people they can't do this," Sohail said.
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan has also been a vocal critic of the domestic championship, demanding that commercial organisations be excluded.
The PCB's director of game development Haroon Rasheed said the new domestic cricket championship would have two first-class divisions.
"The division one tournament will be called 'Gold league' comprising six regional and six departmental teams while the division two will be 'Silver league' with seven department and as many regional teams," he said.
Each year, the bottom two teams from division one will be relegated and the two top teams from division two promoted, he added.