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‘For God’s sake this is professional cricket’ – Bazid Khan lashes out at PCB over controversial rule changes in first-class cricket competition

Pakistan first-class cricket changes
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Former Pakistan cricketer Bazid Khan has lashed out at the PCB for making several changes to the rules for the ongoing President’s Trophy, a first-class competition, including limiting the first innings to 80 overs and reserving a spot in the XI for an under-23 player.

The latest changes have not been made public but have been implemented in the ongoing President’s Trophy that commenced on Saturday. According to reports, each team will have their first innings in each match restricted to 80 overs, going against the unlimited number of overs they can face in first-class cricket elsewhere. There will be no over restrictions in the second innings.

In a bid to make first-class matches more competitive, the PCB will also award bonus points to the two sides. If a team makes more than 350 runs in the first innings, they will get a batting bonus point and a bowling bonus point will be awarded if sides bowl their opposition out within 80 overs. Bazid also reported that all teams will necessarily have an under-23 player in their XI in every match.


Bazid on PCB restricting the first innings to 80 overs

“The one thing that every country is basing their cricket on – the 150-year history of Shield cricket, the 100 years of Ranji Trophy and the set-up in county cricket, which is also between 100 and 150 years old… Now, there’s a new drama in Pakistan cricket regarding their first-class cricket. See the value it has.

“For the first time, the rules and playing conditions are not published on PCB’s website. What kind of work is going on in the backdoors? I got to know a rule that, in first-class four-day cricket, the first innings will be a restricted innings of 80 overs. You say, we need to develop players but you devalue first-class cricket. How will you know who plays the second new ball well? How do the spinners know how to get wickets in different phases? The tactic of scoring runs and then deciding how much is enough to win is finished because you have restricted that.

“The PCB don’t want to do any real work and is focusing on artificial things. If we make it 80 overs, they will play quicker… You cannot force any player to play a certain way.”

Bazid on the under-23 rule

“Previously, in the National T20 Cup, a rule was made that under-19 players cannot play in the tournament. Talk is about capacity building and whether our players have the intent and the skills of power-hitting but if you don’t give the under-19 players that opportunity, then how will they develop?

“The latest report is that one under-23 player will be necessary for every first-class match per team like in the PSL. Then, this restriction should also be applied to the Pakistan team. For God’s sake, this is professional sport. The XI you pick should be professional and they should be the best players. No one should be guaranteed a spot in any side. The better player might be sitting out, so first-class cricket is being devalued. The structure of cricket is a different matter, the PCB is unsuccessful in running cricket anyway, I’m not even talking about the grounds and conditions, now they have started changing rules like this and then they expect the Pakistan team to win. How will the team win?

“You are not importing players. This isn’t the Premier League where five overseas players can come and play for the senior international team. The domestic structure will give you players, and if you make such rules – what kind of cricket is this?”

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