Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has asked the authorities to resume departmental cricket in the country.
Under the new domestic structure instilled by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) back in 2019, only six regional teams are allowed to participate in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy—the country’s premier domestic competition.
Following that decision, several players who were playing for different departments were made redundant.
Hafeez, while talking to Samaa TV, expressed his opinion that the new domestic structure is not good enough to cater the financial needs of players who are still eager to represent the national team in the future.
“Last year, when I was offered a contract for domestic cricket, I refused because of my conscience,” said Hafeez. “Unemployment in the cricketing fraternity has increased significantly because of the new domestic structure. It is my opinion that we cannot accommodate deserving cricketers in just six regional teams. I don’t understand how a cricketer can manage the financial needs of his family from the time he starts playing at the club level until the time he will represent Pakistan.”
He continued by saying: “You can look at me and I am a great example of how departments helped Pakistani cricketers. Back in the year 2000, I was inducted by the SNGPL. If that wouldn’t have happened, I don’t think I could’ve pursued my cricket career because I could not have afforded to buy quality equipment to compete at the highest level. ”
The 39-year-old also revealed that he is eager to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and highlight the issues domestic cricketers are facing.
“I indeed wanted to meet the PM Imran and I want to thank him that he allowed us to meet before the England tour,” said Hafeeez. “Because of certain reasons, the meeting couldn’t go ahead as per plan but I hope it will take place soon. I tried to meet the PM because I believe someone has to meet him, inform about the difficulties our colleagues in the domestic circuit are facing because of this new structure.”
He added: “For me, the real problem is that within departments, there are teams for every sport except cricket and because of that, up to 900 players and 300 supporting staff members are now unemployed.”