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PCB urged to allow departmental contests to help players earn money

Sports

April 6, 2020

KARACHI: The revamping of domestic structure by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last year continues to affect hundreds of cricketers who failed to find a place in the teams of six regions as they have also been deprived of the opportunity of playing league cricket in England, Ireland and other nations due to COVID-19.

Former Test cricketer Abdul Rauf has expressed concerns about this and asked PCB authorities to take some bold decisions to save the unemployed players from severe financial losses.

He said that PCB is blessed with the services of Ehsan Mani who is a chartered accountant with international reputation. Rauf said he expected Mani to save thousands of first-class, Grade II and club cricketers from starvation.

“At the end of the day, Chairman PCB is the custodian of all cricket affairs. Thus it can’t be left to the nominated cricket committee, which has no knowledge of the dreadful economic situation as every institution is suffering financial losses due to COVID-19,” he added.

Rauf said that people like Haroon Rasheed, Urooj Mumtaz, Misbah-ul-Haq, cricket committee chairman Iqbal Qasim do not understand the effects of the situation on the lives of the unemployed cricketers. “PCB just needs to take one bold decision -- to allow departments to run their teams so that players’ source of earning can be revived and their families can be saved from starvation,” he said.

WAPDA alone employs around 150 cricketers, while around 50 are on the pay-roll of State Bank of Pakistan. Rauf, who played three Tests, four ODIs and a T20 International, said that Mani and CEO Wasim Khan must issue permission to departments to operate their teams.

PCB should take lesson from the policy of PM Imran Khan who gave relaxation to the construction sector in the wake of COVID-19 in order to revive the industries to check unemployment. “Why can’t PCB adopt the same policy and allows departments to run their teams and save more than 1200 cricketers and other people,” he said.

Rauf mentioned that departments have to finalise their cricket expenditures in April and May so PCB must give them permission as they do not have to give money from their accounts nor have to slash the salaries of officials who are minting huge amounts.

Rauf said that Ramadan cricket tournaments have also been suspended due to the pandemic which is a further blow to local cricketers. He said that questions would be raised when several deserving cricketers are deprived of their jobs due to the new structure. PCB officials are sitting in their homes and are busy sending videos of star cricketers doing push-ups, he said.

Due to the PCB’s change in domestic format last year cricketers employed by more than 40 departments have been severely effected as they were not allowed to continue their cricket activities at any level. Each department had the services of more than 20 professional cricketers as well as coaches and support staff.

Besides, hundreds of Grade II and club cricketers from Pakistan play league and club cricket in England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Canada, and other countries to earn sufficient amounts of money to support their families. Due to coronavirus they would not be able to earn a single penny this year.