LAHORE: Just two days before holding the 53rd meeting of its Board of Governors (BoG), which may be the last to be held under its existing format, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has de-notified the appointment of Habib Bank Limited’s (HBL) representative Dr. Samie as a member of the board since the bank has disbanded its cricket team now.

The BoG is going to meet in Quetta on Wednesday, April 17 to take several decisions about the drastic changes in its constitution and domestic cricket structure.

On April 4, HBL, one of the oldest affiliated units of the PCB, chose to disband its cricket team which indeed came as a setback to the cricketing circles in the country. But according to recent reports, the PCB is aiming to disband all the departmental as well as regional cricket teams and intends to switch on to a provincial level set-up as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

However, quite interestingly, the PCB is seeking the nod of all the current members of the BoG for the provincial level set-up but if they do give the permission for the same, their own positions in the PCB will be threatened.

PM Imran is keen to implement the domestic cricket set up of Australia in Pakistan which has only six first — class cricket teams competing. On the other hand, though, South Africa recently increased the number of teams in its domestic season to twelve provincial teams from the previous six, thus ending the franchises system.

Meanwhile, the PCB will also seek the permission of the BoG members to delegate all their powers to the newly-appointed Managing Director of the PCB, Wasim Khan on the pretext that the new arrangement will help him deal with day to day affairs more comfortably. That would mean that the BoG will be left with virtually no powers.

Dawn learnt that though the BoG members are not comfortable over the amendments being made in the domestic structure and the arrangement of delegating their powers to the MD, it may not be easy for them to resist the PCB hierarchy which appears to be quite strong. That said, some BoG members are likely to move court to seek justice if the PCB imposes the new amendments.

Many former cricketers have already raised their voice against the proposed PCB plan of abolishing the departmental cricket. Though in the first attempt, the PCB has tried to get approval for the system of eight regional teams in first-class cricket and as many regional teams to play Grade-II, the prime minister rejected it and asked the PCB officials to devise a six-team set-up.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019