A comparative analysis of domestic cricket structures around the world and the flaws in Pakistan’s domestic setup

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A comparative analysis of domestic cricket structures around the world and the flaws in Pakistan’s domestic setup

Domestic cricket is the mother of all cricket, this is the nursery where great players are born and then groomed for the international arena to lift the name of one’s country.

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Different countries around the world have different systems in place to streamline the youngsters and talented players into the national side. The top 4 domestic cricket structure around the world (arguably) are Australia, England, India and Pakistan.

The structure of cricket in Pakistan and India plays a vital role in the development of players. Through their competitive domestic cricketing environments, both countries have been able to produce great players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and Virat Kohli in India, and many talented cricketers like Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan and Waqar Younis in Pakistan. Domestic cricket provides a platform for players to hone their skills and allows national teams to have a pool of experienced players to choose from.

An overview of domestic cricket structure in various countries:

In India, the domestic cricket structure includes competitions like The Ranji Trophy, The Duleep Trophy, The Vijay Hazare Trophy, and The Indian Premier League. These tournaments provide exposure and opportunities for players from all states and regions in India. The country’s success in international cricket can be attributed to the strong foundation provided by its domestic structure.

Australia also has a strong domestic cricket structure. Their top-level competition is the Sheffield Shield, which is considered one of the strongest first-class competitions in the world. They also have the Marsh One-Day Cup and the popular Big Bash League. The system in Australia is well-organized and provides a pathway for players to progress to the international level.

Pakistan’s domestic cricket structure is overseen by the Pakistan Cricket Board. They have regional and departmental teams competing in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, President’s Trophy, Hanif Mohammad Trophy, Hanif Mohammad Cup, National T20 Cup, Pakistan Cup and multiple National U19 events. While the structure is generally strong and has produced successful players for the national team, there has been criticisms regarding its structure, standard of umpiring, and facilities provided.

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In England, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) organize domestic competitions like the County Championship, the Vitality Blast, the hundred and the Royal London One-Day Cup. The structure provides a pathway for players to progress from amateur to professional level and offers a variety of competitions for fans to enjoy.

Sheffield Shield is the premium first-class tournament in Australia while Ranjhi Trophy, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy are its counterpart in India and Pakistan respectively. All these tournaments are known for their gritty structure that enable them to bring forth quality stars into the national side. But in contrast in past few years the domestic tournaments in Pakistan have been unable to change the fortune of there while the same first-class arrangements have brought drastic improvements into the cricketing patterns of India and Australia.

For beginners, the domestic cricket system in Pakistan has witnessed seismic changes in the past few years under former cricketer turned politician Prime Minister Imran Khan, who just with a single stroke of pen abolished the long standing departmental cricket structure that had been conventionally the source of bread and butter for many cricketers including the veteran Pakistan legends that won us the ICC trophies in the past decades. Imran Khan banished the model of departmental cricket to emulate the successful model of domestic cricket of ECB (English Cricket Board) and CA (Cricket Australia), but unfortunately those changes had adverse effects on the Pakistan domestic structure and thus was annulled after the departure of Imran Khan’s government.

No to rare overseas tour for top domestic teams and monotonous pitches

Another factor why our domestic stars are unable to replicate their top notch performances in overseas countries like South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia (SENA) is the fact that we hardly arrange any comprehensive pre-tour matches for them to acclimatize themselves with the challenging conditions there. Other factor that contributes to the underwhelming performances by our lads is their inability to play well on pitches with steep bounce. In contrast, India perform reasonably well than us in SENA countries because of their long pre-tour stints and frequent ‘A-side’ matches with the SENA nation sides which allow their players an opportunity to adapt well to the conditions there and exhibit their level best in such conditions. Pakistan-A side unfortunately looks dormant in comparison as PCB hardly arrange any matches for them with the teams in SENA nations whether it be local or domestic side. And consequently Pakistan Cricket Team (PCT) suffer greatly in its tour to SENA countries owing to our lack of adaptation in these overseas conditions. Also, the PCB arranges 7 domestic tournaments each year but hardly organize them on the bouncy tracks at Gujranwala, Sialkot and Islamabad cricket stadiums.

Unwarranted Political Interference

Another big factor that dampens the dividends from our domestic cricketing structure is the incessant political interference, frequent disruptions and alterations in the domestic cricket pattern in Pakistan. The biggest evidence of it is the appointment of PCB Chairmans on the basis of political affiliations rather than any cricketing credentials and merit.

Low remuneration for domestic players

Low wages and compensation to both players and umpires are another reason that dishearten many young cricketers to give up their ambition to represent Pakistan at any level. For instance a player featuring in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament will get a match fee of PKR 100,000 while an indian player playing in its counterpart Ranjhi Trophy would earn a sum of 140,000 INR (467,000 PKR) i.e. almost 4 times the sum that a Pakistan player can earn. And those playing the white-ball tournaments – the Pakistan Cup and the National T20 – can earn PKR 60,000 per game while for the same an Indian domestic player will earn 35,000 INR (~116, 850 PKR). The situation would have been much worse for our domestic cricketers had the departmental cricket not been reinstated in 2023 after a hiatus of 5 years.

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The ACB sets aside 25 per cent of its revenue towards the Player Payment Pool which is then split between the ACB Player Payment Pool (55 per cent) and the State Player Payment Pool (45 per cent). While in Pakistan even the players from the national side does not get paid for months let alone domestic performers. For instance, in 2023, the cricketers from domestic set up were not paid monthly retainers for upto five months, nor were they given any match fee for the same period. So in such a poorly and underpaid environment how do you expect some real talent to stick around with your system for long. Thus, the heavily endowed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), despite making huge claims of improving the financial condition, has made the poor cricketers cry for their money.


Country nameRemuneration for white ball matches Remuneration for Red ball MatchesAnnual Earnings
PCB (Pakistan)60,000 PKR100,000 PKR18,200 $
CA (Australia)N/AN/A72,250 $
ECB(England)N/AN/A34,685 $
BCCI (India)116,850 PKR467,000 PKR28,360 $


Poor standard of umpiring and the issues associated with it


Also another low for Pakistan domestic cricket system is the poor standard of umpiring due to dearth of qualified umpires who deliberately distance themselves from such events due to low sums of match fee and this has effected the quality of cricket in Pakistan too. Former Pakistan umpires late Asad Rauf also pointed this out “The standard of umpiring in PSL needs to be improved as well because poor umpiring can easily ruin a tournament”. Former ICC elite Umpire Aleem Dar has also been critical of umpiring in Pakistan and blames low match remuneration the reason behind it. ”The local umpires match fees should be increased to make their future attractive,[they] can hardly save Rs1,000 per day after bearing the [accommodation and] conveyance expenses and that too by travelling by rickshaw and not by taxi”

Low quality of cricket in Pakistan’s domestic tournaments

The quality of cricket in PCB domestic tournaments is not very high due to large number of teams and that too, the majority of the players in their mid 30’s while in contrast, in the Australian domestic tournaments like Sheffield Shield, a player in his mid 30s can not even dream of playing for any side, as the focus of teams in Sheffield Shield is on the development of players for the Australian National Team rather than winning the tournament. Because the Cricket Australia considers it futile to invest on players who are in their mid 30s with very low probability of international appearance for their national side. While in Pakistan domestic arena team deliberately pick "Senior players" who can help their sides to win the tournaments. Winning is secondary for the Australian domestic teams while for teams in Pakistan it is the primary goal. Also the quality of cricket in Shieffield Shield is much higher as compared to Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Tournament due to very limited number of teams ie 6 while the plethora of teams in Pakistan's domestic tournaments just dilute the quality of the cricket.

Selection of players on vague grounds rather than a tangible criteria

The ECB says, “When we say ‘data’, we don’t just mean the numbers but that can involve holistic data: the aggregation of scouting reports, and that rich insight that you can get from counties and coaches.” Also Selectors in Cricket Australia (CA) must provide feedback to omitted players along with an assurance of open line of communication for all the players. But things are diametrically different in Pakistan as here players get kicked out of the team without any explanation at all. In words of former Pakistan player Imad Wasim: “They [selectors] never told the reason behind keeping me away from the national team”.

The consistent ignoring of domestic top performers in the domestics like Sami Aslam, Fawad Alam, Ahmed Shehzad etc is also reminiscent of the fact that PCB despite having a formal selection criteria acts waywardly and whimsically. And according to some cricketers like Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Khurram Manzoor, PCB selects players with well established links and connections with the higher ups in the board.

Conclusion

Hence the Pakistan domestic cricket structure can become successful again if PCB address the issues of low wages and remuneration for players and umpires, use alternative venues with overseas pitch conditions for our domestic tournaments, arrange more overseas tours for our A-side team and domestic top performers and follow a policy of meritocracy instead of nepotism and favoritism. In this way, we can turn around the fortunes of domestic cricket and team Pakistan. Especially the national team could be more consistent in ICC events in the future if they duly afford places to domestic top performers instead of snubbing them off without any plausible reason.
 
Actually PCB doesn't have the capability to fix these issues as they just want to earn big money but don't want to spend it on the domestic structure from which we are getting products.

Whole system is politicized in with each chairman just comes in to serve his masters.
 
Pitches don't have variety. I think these are similar pitches played in the 80s. Probably no improvement in that regard for decades. cricviz reports say Pakistan pitches have the lowest among all countries.
 
Pitches don't have variety. I think these are similar pitches played in the 80s. Probably no improvement in that regard for decades. cricviz reports say Pakistan pitches have the lowest among all countries.
Pakistani pitches are the worst on the world by far.
 
Pakistan's premier domestic performers are being exposed at the international level vs quality teams. A sad indictment about the quality of our domestic cricket.
 
Our domestic cricket looks like a picture out of the 80s quality wise. Forget about iHawk, if we can telecast our domestic matches in more than 144p that in itself will be a massive achievement.
 
Pitches don't have variety. I think these are similar pitches played in the 80s. Probably no improvement in that regard for decades. cricviz reports say Pakistan pitches have the lowest among all countries.
Pakistani pitches are the worst on the world by far.
Pakistan does not need drop in pitches as we do have all sort of tracks in Pakistan. Bouncy track, Turner patches and highway sort of pitches. Gujranwala, Sialkot and Islamabad pitches are most close to the pitches in South Africa and Australia but PCB doesn't arrange their matches at all may be because those matches won't be high scoring and of interest for people.

That is the reason, in past few years Pakistan has just produced flat track bully players.
 
Pakistan's premier domestic performers are being exposed at the international level vs quality teams. A sad indictment about the quality of our domestic cricket.
Yeah it's true but giving them just a series or two and then just kicking them out ruin their careers. Sami Aslam went out the same way and now is playing for US against Pakistan.
 
I guess constantly being neglected and not seen as flashy enough to represent Pakistan cricket is the best learning curb for all domestic cricketers in Pakistan.

Some guys are handed everything before they have done anything to truly earn it.

Others have to continuously struggle, to one day be given the right to show they are deserving.
 
A pakistani shouldn't be talking about fitness and standards of domestic class cricket.
Our ranji trophy batters would be playing for your national team.
Sarfaraz would be Pakistan's best batter, but then Indian standards are just too high.
Babar, rizwan and shafique would have never made into the Indian team
 
Where the Indian standards stand against the Australian domestic cricket where a player in his mid 30s dont even get a chance to play? Your take on that
A pakistani shouldn't be talking about fitness and standards of domestic class cricket.
Our ranji trophy batters would be playing for your national team.
Sarfaraz would be Pakistan's best batter, but then Indian standards are just too high.
Babar, rizwan and shafique would have never made into the Indian team
 
A Good decision by BCCI need to introduce the same for PSL(y)

================

No Ranji Trophy, No IPL: After Ishan Kishan Fiasco, BCCI Takes Stern Step - ReportIshan Kishan's reluctance to play first-class cricket could prompt the BCCI to make a minimum number of Ranji Trophy games mandatory in order to be eligible for IPL.

Jharkhand keeper-batter Ishan Kishan's reluctance to play first-class cricket and focus only on the IPL could prompt the BCCI to make a minimum number of Ranji Trophy games mandatory for players in order to be eligible for the cash-rich league's lucrative auction pool. It has been learnt that BCCI brass has already instructed Kishan to play Jharkhand's last group league game against Rajasthan in Jamshedpur, starting February 16. The manner in which Kishan had skipped match after match after returning midway from South Africa tour citing "travel fatigue" hasn't exactly gone down well with men who matter in the Indian cricket establishment.

More so after it was found that he is training in Baroda with his new MI skipper Hardik Pandya while his state team is languishing near bottom of group A table.

There is a general consensus that a strict policy need to be adhered to so that a group of young players don't make "playing IPL to IPL" a habit.

"The decision makers in BCCI are well aware that some players don't want to play any red ball cricket. If they are out of Indian team, they would at best play a few Mushtaq Ali T20 games and then not report for state team duty during red ball season," a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

"To rein in such players, board in all likelihood will make it mandatory to play 3-4 Ranji Trophy games, failing which, they can't play IPL or even appear in IPL auction if released by their franchise.

"The state units feel unless the diktat comes from top of BCCI, some of the young stars will treat Ranji Trophy with disdain." It is understood that even Indian team's think-tank are pissed off with a certain section of players, who are always reluctant to play Ranji Trophy even when they are fit.

"We can understand Hardik Pandya's case as his body can't take the rigours of red ball cricket. He can't withstand the workload of Test cricket and India needs him fit for ICC events.

"But some of the other youngsters, whenever you call them, they will cite that they are currently doing physio work. There needs to be a stop somewhere," the official said.

It will be interesting to find out if Kishan finally leaves his "new training base" in Baroda and is back in Jamshedpur for Jharkhand's final game of the tournament.

Asked if Kishan would find himself out of BCCI retainership (he has a grade C annual contract of Rs 1 crore), the official said: "No discussions have taken place as of now regarding central contracts.

Source: NDTV
 
Pakistan haven't had spinning pitches since 1999 in your domestic.

Hassan Cheema had an excellent article on Cricinfo which highlighted that.
 
Pakistan haven't had spinning pitches since 1999 in your domestic.

Hassan Cheema had an excellent article on Cricinfo which highlighted that.
No we do have but we deliberately not use them to have high scoring matches. So does the indians do Pak like highway pitches
 
I guess constantly being neglected and not seen as flashy enough to represent Pakistan cricket is the best learning curb for all domestic cricketers in Pakistan.

Some guys are handed everything before they have done anything to truly earn it.

Others have to continuously struggle, to one day be given the right to show they are deserving.
I believe the top domestic performers plus the lads from Under 19 side can change the fortune of PCT. And can replace many current players in Pakistan side too.
 
Imran Khan deciding to meddle in the cricket affairs of the country. This guy as PM decided to reduce the domestic teams to 6 and also decided to remove Azhar Ali as captain and replace him with Babar.

When he made Babar captain, Babar ended up losing all three ICC events he would captain Pakistan in. World T20 2021, 2022 and now the World Cup 2023.

Also, his decision to reduce the domestic team to 6 is the reason why we dont have a spinner today. 6 domestic teams meant that teams would carry 1 spinner each which were usuaully the psl stars. Pakistan today has no spinner cause of the stupid domestic structure we had in place.
 
Imran Khan deciding to meddle in the cricket affairs of the country. This guy as PM decided to reduce the domestic teams to 6 and also decided to remove Azhar Ali as captain and replace him with Babar.

When he made Babar captain, Babar ended up losing all three ICC events he would captain Pakistan in. World T20 2021, 2022 and now the World Cup 2023.

Also, his decision to reduce the domestic team to 6 is the reason why we dont have a spinner today. 6 domestic teams meant that teams would carry 1 spinner each which were usuaully the psl stars. Pakistan today has no spinner cause of the stupid domestic structure we had in place.
The 6 team format would have worked wonders if they had the common sense to let it run for 5+ years and not change up the system every other year
I agree with @ahmadharis1 here, @Major does have a point here but in longer run it would have benefitted PCT. Like the u19 leagues does wonders to us.
 
The 6 team format would have worked wonders if they had the common sense to let it run for 5+ years and not change up the system every other year
I'm not sure about just 6 teams at the elite level for a country the size of Pakistan but definitely regional competition is the way to go. Every successful Sport feeder system worldwide is based on that.

1. Enables the whole pyramid of sports infrastructure - schools & academies feeding up to local teams then feeding up to regional/state teams at all levels U16, U19, senior etc.
2. Allows support and engagement with fans - both Sheffield & County and to a lesser extent Ranji are examples of that
3. Cuts dependancies on franchises, departments, companies etc. which can be whimsical in their support
 
Imran Khan deciding to meddle in the cricket affairs of the country. This guy as PM decided to reduce the domestic teams to 6 and also decided to remove Azhar Ali as captain and replace him with Babar.

When he made Babar captain, Babar ended up losing all three ICC events he would captain Pakistan in. World T20 2021, 2022 and now the World Cup 2023.

Also, his decision to reduce the domestic team to 6 is the reason why we don't have a spinner today. 6 domestic teams meant that teams would carry 1 spinner each which were usuaully the psl stars. Pakistan today has no spinner cause of the stupid domestic structure we had in place.
Can you tell us how many world cups did misbah win who you worship? I can name you a couple which he himself lost for Pakistan. The biggest mistake Imran made was the he allowed shameless misbah to become our coach.

Can you tell us which spinners we produced with the previous system?
 
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Imran Khan deciding to meddle in the cricket affairs of the country. This guy as PM decided to reduce the domestic teams to 6 and also decided to remove Azhar Ali as captain and replace him with Babar.

When he made Babar captain, Babar ended up losing all three ICC events he would captain Pakistan in. World T20 2021, 2022 and now the World Cup 2023.

Also, his decision to reduce the domestic team to 6 is the reason why we dont have a spinner today. 6 domestic teams meant that teams would carry 1 spinner each which were usuaully the psl stars. Pakistan today has no spinner cause of the stupid domestic structure we had in place.
this post of mine is quite a few months old
 
Finally the stars of domestic shining in PSL

Nafay
Mohammad Ali
Arif Yaqoob
Usman Tariq
Faisal Akram just to name a few, imagine a Pak side with such talents. That simply would be awesome.
 
No top performer of domestics named in the Pakistan squad for the Ireland and England tour. Well then why not abolish the domestic structure then as completely useless for squad selection?

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No top performer of domestics named in the Pakistan squad for the Ireland and England tour. Well then why not abolish the domestic structure then as completely useless for squad selection?

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What did these top performers do in the PSL? Kamran Ghulam barely played for Lahore Qalandars and Sahibzada Farhan didn't impress too much.
 
Only 2 batters in that list have good numbers.

Chachu is selected and Farhan failed in PSL.
No bro Farhan did decent for LQ if i am not wrong then after Rassie Van der Dussen he was their highest run scorer.
 
No bro Farhan did decent for LQ if i am not wrong then after Rassie Van der Dussen he was their highest run scorer.
Pakistan have Bobby B and Rizzler as opening options. Saim can play "no look shot". Where will Farhan bat?
 
What did these top performers do in the PSL? Kamran Ghulam barely played for Lahore Qalandars and Sahibzada Farhan didn't impress too much.
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Look at his stats bro in PSL, they weren't that bad.
 
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Look at his stats bro in PSL, they weren't that bad.
Bro their isn't even a fair merit in psl leagues.

Saud shakeel and Abdullah shafiq were ignored because they pose a threat to rizzu and babar lol.

Hafeez may have been right about RIP domestic cricket.

I miss when we had lahore lions and those domestic teams that could occasionally participate in the CLT20.
 
Bro their isn't even a fair merit in psl leagues.

Saud shakeel and Abdullah shafiq were ignored because they pose a threat to rizzu and babar lol.

Hafeez may have been right about RIP domestic cricket.

I miss when we had lahore lions and those domestic teams that could occasionally participate in the CLT20.
But the players are getting selected based on PSL performances so PCB is taking it seriously as a merit.

Saud had just 1 good inning in the PSL, that too in the very start of the event. Rest of it was not up to the mark. Abdullah is another accumulator. How many do we need in the team? we have enough. Abdullah might chip in, incase usman fails but then they have rizwan.
 
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