Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister and patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has rejected calls for reviving departmental cricket in the country. In a brief meeting at Khan’s residence, a delegation that included Misbah-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez, made a bid to change the premier’s mind about the new structure, which has already cost over 400 cricketers their jobs, but could make no headway with Khan insisting that the new regional model was “the right way”.
The cricketers who met Khan cited the reduced earnings for players under the new model, as well as the reduced opportunities for younger cricketers to pick up the game.
“The new structure didn’t make any difference from its first year (2019) to the second (2020), which has been affected by Covid-19 too,” one member of the delegation said. “The pipeline of cricketers coming into the system has been drying up. We understand that Imran Khan has a point about having competitive cricket in Pakistan, but you cannot implement this in one go, without giving an alternative to cricketers.”
However, Khan stuck to his stand, and said he had convinced the cricketers “with great difficulty” that the new structure needed time.
“I have convinced with great difficulty Misbah, Hafeez and Azhar that the new cricket structure must be allowed to grow and become strong,” Khan said later. “I told them that every new system had its teething problems and it takes some