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September 17, 2019

New domestic format fails to draw crowds, balls ‘sub-standard’


September 17, 2019

KARACHI: The introduction of Kookaburra ball in the Pakistan domestic season so far has not proved successful as more than seven centuries have been scored in three days of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches and bowlers have struggled, former cricketers said while talking to ‘The News’ on Monday.

They said that the Kookaburra balls had different types. “The balls used in our domestic season are not of good standard. They help none, neither spinners, nor medium pacers, nor fast bowlers,” a former first-class cricketer said. “The presence of the seem is most important for the bowlers. The seem of the Duke ball of England remains there even after 30 overs,” he added.

Former Test and ODI cricketer Jalaluddin said that nothing was new in the so-called new domestic cricket format. “Even the participation of top cricketers is nothing new. The Pentangular cricket tournament used to have the same feature,” he said.

He said that the pitches were supporting batsmen. He was of view that at least 15 days should be given to the players and all teams. “Let’s see what happens in the next matches,” he said and added that he expected PCB to address the shortcomings in the coming days.

Jalal was also disappointed by the Kookaburra ball used in the championship. He said that the standard of the ball was poor, as it was helping the batsmen. Another former Test cricketer said that PCB failed to launch the new domestic format successfully as there were too few spectators at the venues.

At UBL cricket stadium there was no advertisement, banner, poster or hoardings for the publicity of the new format, he said. A cricket lover who came to see the match at UBL sports complex said he was surprised to see that there were very few people to see the match although big names of Pakistan cricket were playing. Even on Sunday there were hardly 200 spectators, including families, at UBL sports complex.

The social media team of PCB, however, did a good job, uploading the highlights on YouTube, covering all aspects of the game and stats. Thousands of cricket spectators are watching the matches on YouTube, which is a good sign, a former cricketer said.

A PCB official defended the use of Kookaburra ball. He said that these were the first matches and bowling with Kookaburra ball was a difficult task. “When the bowlers get used to it, they will take wickets,” he claimed.

He said that the same ball was used in international cricket. “When our bowlers get familiar with this ball, it will be better for them in international matches,” he further claimed. The spectators were also surprised by the use of a push-cart to carry drinks for players. They said that in other countries, many exotic-looking vehicles were used which were not expensive either.

They suggested that qingqi rickshaws could be used for carrying drinks. “That would look beautiful,” a spectator said.

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