Should Pakistani Cricket be Regional or Departmental?

Posted on February 6, 2009
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Sports
13 Comments
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Owais Mughal

The debate about whether Pakistan’s domestic cricket structure be departmental or regional is as old as the country itself. It all started in 1953‘s inaugural Quaid-e-Azam trophy when 2 departmental teams, Railways and Combined Services competed against 5 regional teams of Karachi, Punjab, Bahawalpur, Sindh and NWFP. Bahawalpur beat Punjab in the finals to win the National Title.

The scorecard of this historic match can be seen here. In my opinion, it opened this pandora box that even in 2009 we haven’t made up our mind whether domestic cricket should be regional or departmental. I think it can be both as long as they are kept separate. For example, who would have an interest in a match between Lahore and WAPDA with WAPDA players also hailing from Lahore? However a Karachi vs Lahore will be a certain crowd puller.

What makes the domestic cricket scene in Pakistan more confusing is whenever the Cricket board management changes, the format of domestic cricket tournaments also changes.

As one of those crazy fans, who actually follow domestic cricket in Pakistan, it has become painful for me to see changing policies every few years. e.g. when Tauqeer Zia was heading PCB, regional teams were given preference and all major tournaments (Quaid-e-Azam trophy and National ODI championship) were played between regional teams only. Departmental teams were allowed to compete in a separate tournament (Pentagular Cup) limited to them only. Whether Tauqeer Zia was a good chariman or not, I certainly liked the domestic tournament pattern set under his chairmanship. I think it is more competitive as well as keeps the interest alive among crowd when regions or cities compete against each other.

With current PCB management, the waters have become murky again. Both departmental and regional teams are participating in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. This policy gives regional teams no chance of any competition unless there is an out of the blue excptional performance. The reason is departmental teams are better paying sponsors and they take the best talent out of country and that leaves regional teams to field their 2nd or 3rd tier teams. Look at the points table of ongoing Quaid-e-Azam trophy, especially pool A here. It is not a surprise that Cricket nurseries like Karachi and Lahore are at down below in the pool A table.

In my recent memory a regional team in Pakistan has not won a major first class tournament when a departmental team is also playing in the same tournament. The closest a regional team has ever come in pulling such a miracle in my memory was 16 years ago in the Wills Cup Final of 1993 where Rawalpindi lost to Habib Bank and before that it was 28 years ago in Wills Cup Final of 1981-82. In 1981-82 Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) reached the finals where they met Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and lost to them.

In my opinion the only reason Lahore was able to reach final of that tournament was because both Imran Khan and Majid Khan were playing for Lahore in 1982. Both Imran Khan and Majid Khan have been a vocal supporters of seeing Pakistan’s cricket structure to be based on regional teams and they prefered to play for Lahore as a policy matter. See the score card of this interesting match here. Majid Khan was the second highest scorer of the tournament that year with 273 runs at 45.5 Ave and Imran Khan also scored 202 runs at an average of 40.4. In bowling Majid Khan actually grabbed the ‘Best Bowler’ award that year by taking 10 wickets at 15.2 ave. Imran Khan was second highest wicket taker of the tournament with 9 wickets at 12.11 average.

Let me throw another interesting statistic your way. The last time a regional team actually won a tournament in Pakistan in the presence of a departmental team was 35 years ago when Punjab defeated Sindh in the finals of 1974-75 Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Scorecard is here

I believe most of our informed readers know the advantages and disadvantages of regional versus departmental cricket structure. Here are some points that I want to make.

Regional Teams:

Advantages:

1. Crowd pullers
2. People feel more attached to their regional team

Disadvantages:

1. Regional teams are financially not strong – unless there is a sponsorship. They don’t have means to employ players year long.
2. In Pakistan’s particular situation, regional cricket spreads regionalism and narrow mindedness -A point made by Javed Miandad in his auto-biography – I don’t agree but this thought it out there.

Departmental Teams:

Advantages:

Cricketers are employed year long; even when they are not playing; so they can concentrate more on the game and lesser on worrying about economics.

Disadvantages:

Less crowd appeal. Crowd may come to see its favourite player playing for a departmental team but does not feel attached to a departmental team’s win or loss.

What is Your Opinion?

We would like to get your opinion. Should Pakistani domestic cricket be regional – as in most of the world – which get more crown involement or should it be departmental – which is more beneficial to the players.

ATPs Related Posts:

1. Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2006-07: This article also gives history of QeA trophy from its inauguration in 1953 to 2008.

2. Provinces and Islamabad to compete for the Cricket Title

Related Posts with Thumbnails

13 responses to “Should Pakistani Cricket be Regional or Departmental?”

  1. Visit FreeLatestNews.com for Latest records and facts.

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    Sialkot has defeated KRL in the final of 2008-09 Quaid-e-Azam trophy final to emerge as the new National Champions. I guess, this result has defied my argument above that regional teams don’t perform well in the presence of departmental teams. The statistics however, are still tilted heavily in favour of my argument.

    Final points table for 2008-09 trophy is here

    Score card of the Final is here

    I would also recommend reading another post at ATP where we’ve tabulated QeA trophy results and trivia of the past 53 years. That post can be read here

  3. Owais Mughal says:

    Look at the points table of q-azam trophy after round 8. In Pool A the only 2 regional teams are way down the group.

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