Prime Minister Imran Khan believes that the departmental cricket structure does not motivate players enough to show their true talent.
The prime minister, in his capacity as the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Patron in Chief, had called a high-level meeting of the board to discuss the cricketing affairs in the country.
The group comprised of Chairman Ehsan Mani, Chief ExecutiveOfficer Wasim Khan, cricket committee member Wasim Akram, head coachMisbah-ul-Haq, Test captain Azhar Ali and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez.
During the meeting, PM Khan expressed his reservations on reinstating departmental cricket in the country.
The new domestic structure, replaced departmental sides with regional teams, which has come under criticism by former players, fans and some PCB officials themselves.
The former all-rounder, who led Pakistan to its maiden Cricket World Cup win back in 1992 in Australia, believes that it makes the players feel at ease.
He added that the cricketers, after being employed by various departments, don’t perform at the highest level.
He also instructed the head coach and the players to focus on the task in hand and work on strategies for the betterment of Pakistan cricket.
The 67-year-old, while talking after the meeting, backed the current domestic structure to produce the desired results in the near future.
He also said that the structure intensifies the competition.
“If you look at Australia, they have a competitive domestic structure which is why they are always among the best teams in the world,” he said.
“For 40 years, I wanted to have a system like the one we have right now and I want to congratulate Ehsan Mani and his management for making this possible.I hope with this system in place, we will win the next ICC World Cup in 2023.”
The new domestic structure has come under criticism by former players, fans and some PCB officials themselves after it replaced departmental sides with regional teams.
Recently, the chairman of the PCB Cricket Committee, Iqbal Qasim, stepped down from his position citing the non-revival of departmental cricket as the primary reason.
Hafeez, while speaking exclusively with SAMAA TV, had said that he will raise the issue in a meeting with PM Khan as it is affecting the livelihood of players who can't t make it to association sides.
The veteran cricketer stated: “For me, the realproblem 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.”
Head coach Misbah had also shared similar views. “The cricket board is trying to find an alternative for the players,” Misbah said according to ESPNcricinfo. “You obviously don’t want cricketers playing in the system to have their livelihoods fully abolished, or have a shortage of players, or that they face financial losses.”