Cricketers and club organizers, notably former Test cricketer Shafqat Rana and Azhar Zaidi, have raised misgivings over the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) proposal to increase the clubs’ expenditure allocation under the new constitution of 2019.
In an earlier statement, Shafqat stated that he will close his club in protest of the PCB’s new club regulation. In response, PCB Director of National High Performance Centre Nadeem Khan said in a press conference on Friday that the PCB would not receive a single rupee from the club organisers because all funds (roughly Rs 23 crores) collected through club registration and club elections will be returned to the respective city cricket associations, which have yet to be formed.
“They (PCB) must not tax club cricket,” Shafqat stated on Saturday in reaction to Nadeem’s statement. They should leave it up to the City Associations to charge them or not charge them at all, and the PCB should waive these hefty registration costs and any other expenses imposed on an interested candidate running for the club’s elections.”
He said that the PCB had already harmed grassroots cricket (club, city, regional, and departmental) by leaving it neglected for the previous two years, and that its new model constitution for clubs will exacerbate the problem.
Club cricket, according to Azhar Zaidi, the chairman of P&T Gymkhana Club and a notable cricket organiser, is the true nursery at the grassroots level, producing numerous great cricketers for Pakistan.
“Club cricket has been a part of my life for the past 50 years.” Clubs train each cricketer who participates in trials at the PCB or at any other level. As a result, it is the fundamental unit. Many of the cricketers in the PCB have come from one of the clubs.
“I run P&T Gymkhana, and anyone is entitled to come in and ask the guys what I charge them.” He claimed, “We are servicing cricketers who have no interest in the game and generating players for the PCB.”
“A few days ago, I saw Nadeem Khan and told him that club cricket should be encouraged because he understands how important it is. Yes, the PCB can certainly identify and remove fraudulent clubs in operation and those that charge players extra fees, but it can also generously assist those who are serving Pakistan cricket without personal gain,” he added.
“Every club pays from its own pocket to hire a ground, give lunch, and bear other expenses for playing any match or running the nets,” Azhar added. “Expenses are increasing every day, and the PCB should come up with a proper strategy to ease the load on club cricket.”
The closure of club cricket over the past two years, according to Hafiz Shahbaz, has already done a tremendous lot of damage to cricket, since many players have not returned to join the club. “The PCB should offer club cricketers with the best possible facilities,” Hafiz stated. “It’s a simple premise that when a club’s budget rises, the organiser would either increase the load on players or look for a short-cut, which will harm the sport.”
Moreover, many club cricketers, including Kashif Ali, Ali Hussain, M Navid, Mir Saeed, and Tayyab Tahir, have expressed their displeasure with the PCB’s new club cricket policy, stating that the Board should come up with a generous plan to assist clubs, as club cricket has already been squandered for two years.
They said that the game had lost its appeal since many cricketers had lost their professions in various areas after the PCB disaffiliated them.