LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has introduced a revamped domestic one-day tournament, called the Pakistan Cup, to replace the existing Pentangular Cup. The tournament will be played between five provincial teams, starting April 19 in Faisalabad.
The format will remain the same as the Pentangular Cup, but the process of picking players has been altered the traditional selection process has been replaced with a draft system. It will allow a pre-announced captain and coaches to pick their 15-man squads from a list of 150 cricketers in 15 rounds. There was no reason given for the selection process being changed.
The five teams from the five provinces Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a team from Federal Capital of Pakistan will remain the same. The PCB announced Azhar Ali will lead Balochistan, Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq will lead Federal Capital, Younis Khan will take the reins of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Shoaib Malik will captain Punjab and Sarfraz Ahmed will lead Sindh.
The draft took place in Lahore, where Punjab picked Salman Butt as their opening batsman while Sindh went for Mohammad Amir. Mohammad Asif, however, was not picked by any of the five teams. Mohammad Hafeez, who is suffering from a knee injury, remained unavailable for selection. In order to promote young cricketers, each team had to pick one regional Under-19 player in their 15-man squad.
The Pakistan domestic structure has been inconsistent for decades with changes occurring every two years. Their domestic season starts in August with Grade-2 tournaments, and ends with the limited-overs tournaments by March. The PCB had introduced a completely new first-class system in 2015 and the announcement of the Pakistan Cup reflects the varying nature of planning in the domestic set up. It was understood that there were commercial reasons behind the timing of the event.