NewsPakistan Domestic Structure Set for Another Overhaul

Pakistan Domestic Structure Set for Another Overhaul

  • Five teams to play elite One-Day, T20, and First-class tournaments
  • No One-Day competition for regional sides in the 2024-25 season

The upcoming men’s domestic cricket season in Pakistan will see the introduction of an elite layer of five teams on top of the existing 16 regional sides as the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to launch all-format five-team ‘champions’ tournaments.

These five teams will be independent of the current domestic set-up, which comprises region and domestic teams, and the board plans to keep them functional throughout the year.

The top 150 cricketers, selected on the basis of their performances in the last three years, will be divided into squads of 30 and will have dedicated mentors and support staff attached to them. The board plans to rope in five high-profile former cricketers for this project to attract sponsorships for the new teams.

Grassroots Cricket understands that the decision-makers at the board believe that the six-team structure, which it abandoned last year, produced more quality cricket and was much more effective in reducing the gap between domestic and international cricket. With the introduction of this elite layer of tournaments, the board hopes that the players will get to taste tough and challenging cricket before they are exposed to international cricket, and they will also prove beneficial to international cricketers trying to find form.

The 2024-25 domestic season will begin on 1 September, and the wheels are in motion to launch it with the champions one-day cup, which these five elite sides will compete in. These five teams will play T20 and first-class competitions later in the season.

The existing regional structure is also expected to undergo significant changes as the board plans to abolish the Pakistan Cup (one-day tournament) and hold only the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) and National T20 Cup in the coming season.

This is, ostensibly, done to accommodate the new five-team structure. Since the reintroduction of the 2014 constitution, the PCB is obligated to host first-class tournaments for regions and departments. Since regions form a talent pathway towards the national age group and senior teams, the PCB has invested in one-day and T20 competitions over the years.

There will be, however, a one-day tournament (President’s Cup) for the departments, along with the first-class tournament (President’s Trophy). The latter will involve nine teams competing this year following the promotion of OGDCL last month.

This will be the second time in successive years that the PCB will be altering its domestic structure. Last year, it did away with the six-team structure introduced in the 2019-20 season.

Pakistan’s domestic structure has been subject to frequent changes, with the number of teams and nature of competitions altering almost every alternate season.

Following Pakistan’s embarrassing group-stage exit from the recent T20 World Cup, where they lost to the USA and India, the PCB chairman, Mohsin Naqvi, held a meeting with the top-level board officials, which the board’s media release said was to further strengthen the domestic structure.

“A mutual agreement over zero compromise on merit, performance, and fitness was reached,” stated the 24 June media release. “The meeting decided to hold tournaments for all three formats of the game to promote quality domestic cricket in the 2024-25 season. The chairman also highlighted the need for urgent efforts to unearth new talent at the grassroots level. He reiterated that investment in new talent will promote cricket at the grassroots level and yield positive results.”

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