ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has reaffirmed that the revamped structure of domestic cricket will bolster high-quality talent in the country.
He said that the revamped structure would excel at the international level to take Pakistan cricket to great heights.
Prime Minister Khan, who is also patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has also approved the PTV Sports’ new satellite broadcast deal with the Board. The deal is signed for the term of three years.
Speaking at the press conference, Prime Minister Khan said the new domestic cricket structure, based on a regional set up and comprising six teams would produce world-class players. Based on the new structure, the premier Khan predicted that Pakistan would have a much-improved in the next World Cup.
The PM also met chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq, all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and Test captain Azhar Ali to discuss the issue of revival of departments in domestic cricket.
Prime minister made it clear to them that the new system was in the best interest of the country’s cricket as the trio failed to convince the prime minister through their arguments.
PM Khan also responded to the criticism regarding departmental teams. He said that there were teething problems in the new system, adding that whenever fresh reforms were introduced such problems arose but the results would be fruitful.
The cricket turned politician said that he had this wish to change the cricketing structure to bring it at par with other countries, adding that few people with their vested interests were against changing the old system which failed badly.
Last year, the PCB had amended its constitution under which only six regional teams, from Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern, Central Punjab and Southern Punjab, are eligible to participate in the country’s premier first-class event Quaid-i-Azam Trophy.
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PM Khan said that with the signing of a new deal between PTV and PCB, the state-run channel could do well in the future in terms of high-class production, which could not make much progress for a long time.
The deal agreement is signed by PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan and Managing Director PTV Aamer Manzoor.
The press release issued by the PCB after the ceremony said that the PCB signed a satellite broadcast deal for broadcast in Pakistan with PTV Sports and a further agreement to secure cable distribution with I-Media Communication Services. It said that the deal will be for 2020-2023.
The broadcasting arrangement is planned to increase revenues over the three years term. According to the press release, the PCB expects to earn more than USD200 million over the next three years.
However, the agreement is for Pakistan only but the Board also intends to grant the broadcast rights for international territories, for which plan is being finalized. The PCB also aims to launch a structure for its digital media rights.
For the first time, all the major domestic tournaments will be broadcast live on PTV Sports.
The PCB also plans to invest Rs15 billion over the next three years on men and women domestic cricket. The scope of investment includes upgrading of stadiums and infrastructure, building provincial academies and centres of excellence. The Board also plans to hire over 100 former cricketers as coaches for the city cricket associations, restarting inter-university cricket and improving players’ earning and welfare.