Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s rejection of department cricket robs nearly 400 players of livelihood
Pakistan’s domestic cricket structure took a major hit when Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected the reinstatement of departmental cricket in the domestic season of 2020/21. The Prime Minister rejected the player’s plea as the domestic structure aims for changes that will have only provincial teams battling it out. According to reports in the Pakistan media, a draft has been circulated which has no mention of any tournaments for the departments.
According to Shakil Sheikh, the former member PCB Government Board and head of the Board Cricket and Domestic committees stated that there were no tournaments for the departments and they have been ‘robbed’ off their dues. Another official in the Pakistan Cricket Board stated the Board was unanimous in making departments part of the domestic cricket structure, with some members going as far as to say they must pool up a total of Rs 200 million to be part of the system or they will have to bear all the expenses.
Domestic cricket in Pakistan has been played among departments and regions for nearly 50 years, starting in the early 1970s, when Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Pakistan’s first Test captain and then PCB chairman, encouraged organizations like Habib Bank Limited, Sui Southern Gas Corporation, Water and Power Development Authority, and others to provide employment opportunities for players.