Pakistan’s new domestic season likely to be delayed
There is important doubt over Pakistan’s upcoming domestic season starting on time in August due to COVID-19. The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, has tried to decrease the impact of that by allowing 192 players’ annual contracts from August 2020.
There have been more than 160,000 verified cases of coronavirus infections and 3000 deaths in Pakistan, with cases expected to peak by end of July and early August according to prime minister Imran Khan.
While the government has eased lockdown by throwing open businesses, industries, and the tourism sector, encouraging people to follow health rules, all contact sport, indoor centers, gyms, and facilities continue to remain shut. Cricket in the country has been on hold since March 16, when most players were last active in the yet-to-be-completed Pakistan Super League.
“There is no guarantee in this,” Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, said on Friday during a video conference.”Other than what PM said about the peak in July and August, I am also reading medical advice and the cases will take another peek before things start to get better. We are monitoring and will have to plan accordingly, considering every aspect.
“It (indoor season) may be delayed after all. If you look around, the county season in England has been canceled and they are looking to start in August 2020. Almost everywhere in the worldwide cricket has stopped. So, unluckily, it’s not in our control. We are not going to put any player and any stakeholder at risk. If we feel or even suspect that this is going to infect the health then we are not going to take any risk [to start].”
HPC director Nadeem Khan begins domestic revamp
The domestic department of the PCB has been disbanded and control has been transferred to the High-Performance Centre (HPC), after a recent restructure. Nadeem Khan, the HPC director, is currently assessing the performance of the coaching staff of all six associations from the previous season. The PCB has extended their contracts by a month and has laid down a new selection process for each team.
Last year, a three-member selection panel consisting of Misbah-ul-Haq, Rashid Latif, and Khan was asked to choose 32 players to make a first XI and second XI. This year, that process will be renewed as two of the committee members are with the PCB in different capacities – Misbah as head coach and chief selector and Khan as HPC director.
“As part of a complete and extensive review process, we are conducting appraisals of all coaches, which is a three-phase process including self-assessment, interviews, and feedback from players and fellow coaches,” Khan said in a statement.
“This is the modern 360 degrees way of appraising professionals as we remain committed to putting in place the best available coaches who can provide best coaching and training to the players, which, in turn, will add to further improve the quality of our indoor cricket. Once the appraisal of the coaches is concluded, the six Cricket Association coaches will be involved in the team selection process.
We hope to conclude the entire exercise by the end of July with 12-month contracts coming into effect from 1 August 2020. It is premature to predict when we will be able to start our 2020-21 domestic cricket season due to the evolving Covid-19 situation. But, internally, we need to be ready to start the season at a short notice.”