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Miandad wants PCB to retain departmental cricket

Updated February 19, 2019

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Says it is time for the current lot of talented players to benefit from playing for a departmental team.— AFP/File
Says it is time for the current lot of talented players to benefit from playing for a departmental team.— AFP/File

LAHORE: Batting legend Javed Miandad has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) not to abolish the role of departments in the country’s domestic cricket, noting the existing system creates employment for talented cricketers.

“We played our [domestic] cricket for different departments, and now it is time for the current lot of talented players to benefit from playing for a departmental team. Departments provide our cricketers with a respectful source of earning with which they can [financially] support their family. Furthermore, this results in the player becoming a useful citizen,” Miandad said while talking to Dawn on Monday.

“While regional cricket associations have become corruption hubs, the departments have been managing their teams under a comprehensive system in which talented players from across the country regularly play,” Miandad, a veteran of 124 Tests, added.

It may be mentioned here that the PCB is on the verge of introducing a new domestic cricket structure in which some departments — instead of fielding their own teams in first-class cricket — would sponsor a region, a move that can leave hundreds of cricketers representing departments unemployed.

“If our cricketers are unemployed, the regional associations, as compared to the departments, do not have [enough] competent individuals to run their affairs on merit and to provide a decent standard of life to the players,” Miandad, 61, underlined.

He feared people would soon see the bad effects of the domestic restructuring plan under which the role of departmental cricket was being substantially reduced by the PCB.

“The regional associations in Pakistan are not being run by strong people, as has been the case since long. Therefore, I am worried that in case of only-regional cricket structure, influential people [of society] will have their say in getting their blue-eyed players selected in teams,” Miandad stated.

“One region cannot absorb sufficient number of talented cricketers in one team. For this reason, departmental cricket should be kept functional to entertain maximum number of capable cricketers who can showcase their skills in national-level competitions and claim places in the national team,” Miandad emphasised.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2019