A five-year drought is over! Department cricket for Pakistan Cricket is back! The resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan will give huge benefits to the cricket of Pakistan. Department cricket was put on hold after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cricket revamp policy in 2018. This specific decision was made to give opportunity to young talent. On the contrary, this decision was highly criticized by former cricketers, as, according to them, it might abolish cricketer’s financial freedom to a good extent.
It is an outstanding step to Improve Pakistan Cricket. On Aug 11, 2023, Director Domestic Cricket Operations (A), Junaid Zia, with the support of the Cricket Technical Committee compromising Misbah Ul Haq and Muhammad Hafeez, announced the revival of Department Cricket as part of the Domestic Circuit of Pakistan.
He stated, “This structure provides a level playing field to regions and departments as they will have the best cricket talent available. Separating regions and departments in different tournaments also provides enhanced earning opportunities for cricketers with separate contracts and more matches.” Let’s take a deep look at how Resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan will Improve Pakistan Cricket.
President Cup Structure
It was decided that there would be two groups of 8 teams after the announcement of Resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan. One group will be composed of Department Teams, and the other will represent the District Teams.
High Selection standards from PCB made it an uphill task for departments to Complete their Teams. The 4-year gap has affected the preparations and plans dearly. Per the PCB rules, every team must have players of different skill sets like International Players, First Class, Grade II, District, Under-19 & Pakistan Shaheens.
It looked like a difficult task and proved difficult for nearly all the departments. Even the Departments with Players on their Employee list faced the same issues.
Departments well managed this demand as the deadline approached. They provided all the mandatory details and records demanded by the Pakistan Cricket Board, Like Employment contracts, Contact information, Names of Coaching Staff, etc.
The department cricket will be played for the title of President Cup. Eight teams were named to be part of the President Cup. Which includes SNGPL, SSGC, PTV, KRL, WAPDA, NBP, STATEBANK and Ghani Glass.
According to PCB, Department Teams and District Teams will contest separately in the domestic season of 2023-2024. It will give jobs to new cricketers which they could not get before the Resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan.
President Cup playing conditions have been introduced, too. The first innings will compromise 80 overs. The bonus point system has been reintroduced, too.
The batting team scoring over 350 runs in 80 overs will be eligible for a bonus point. The Bowling Team will get a bonus point if it bowls out the batting team before 350 in 80 overs. Surprisingly, the bowling team has been given an extra advantage for the declaration scenario. If the batting team declares before 350, the bowling team will be awarded a bonus point.
Star Studded Tournament begins on December 16, 2023
The President Cup kicked off on December 16, 2023, with the contest between WAPDA & KRL in Karachi at United Bank Limited Sports Complex. Two more matches started on the same day in the city but at different venues.
Ghani Glass is facing SNGPL at the National Bank Cricket Arena, and The contest, PTV Vs Statebank, is being played at the State Bank of Pakistan Cricket Complex, Karachi.
Superstars like Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Iftikhar Ahmad, Umer Akmal, Muhammad Abbas, Sahibzada Farhan, Abid Ali, and many more will be seen in action at this Huge Tournament.
Rising Stars like Haseebullah, Mehran Mumtaz, Shahnawaz Dahani, Sameen Gul, Muhammad Ali, Omair Yusuf, Hasan Mohsin, and Muhammad Ilyas will play for their respective departments.
The combination of experience and youngsters will surely be a gold dust for Pakistan Cricket. Opportunities like these will bring out the best for Pakistan Cricket. Resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan will provide a great platform for hidden talents as they can showcase their abilities on the highest domestic level.
This will surely aid these young players in enhancing their game and skill set. The only drawback that can be observed in this tournament is not being telecasted live. Live broadcasts and media exposure always do wonders for cricket and every field.
It is hoped that high standards will be set for Domestic Cricket in the future. Resumption of Departmental Cricket in Pakistan will surely improve Pakistan Cricket.