2023-2024 domestic cricket season starts tomorrow

By our correspondent
LAHORE: The 2023-2024 domestic season is set to commence on 10 September with both the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and the Hanif Mohammad Trophy to be played concurrently. A total of 18 regional teams have been slotted in this domestic structure with eight teams playing in the premier first-class tournament Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and 10 teams featuring in the Hanif Mohammad Trophy, a non-first-class four-day tournament.

This will be the first domestic season played after the PCB revived the PCB 2014 Constitution according to which regional and departmental teams return to the domestic circuit.

Abbottabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi will be hosting the QeAT, with 29 matches slotted between four venues across the three cities. Peshawar, Karachi Whites, Lahore Blues, Rawalpindi, FATA, Multan, Lahore Whites, and Faisalabad are the teams playing first-class cricket.

The opening round of the QeAT will begin on 10 September. Lahore Whites will be facing Lahore Blues at Gaddafi Stadium, while Peshawar and Karachi Whites will be facing each other at Abbottabad Stadium. Faisalabad vs. Multan will be held at Shoaib Akhtar Stadium in Rawalpindi while FATA vs Rawalpindi will be staged at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

The second round of matches will begin on 16 September. A total of seven rounds will take place with each team playing the other once before the top two sides meet in the final scheduled at the Gaddafi Stadium from 22 to 26 October.

With the revamped domestic structure, the new financial model will also be implemented. According to this, a player featuring in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will get a match fee of PKR 80,000, and players participating in the Hanif Mohammad Trophy will get PKR 40,000 per game. The non-playing members of a first-class team will get PKR 40,000. Adding to that, twenty players, selected by the regions according to the predefined criteria, will be assigned categories as outlined; A+ will get PKR 300,000, A PKR 200,000, B PKR 185,000, C PKR 170,000, D PKR 150,000, E PKR 100,000, F will pocket PKR 50,000.

Hanif Mohammad Trophy

The Hanif Mohammad Trophy will have 26 matches, with the 10 teams divided into two groups. The ten teams featuring in the tournament are Abbottabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Bahawalpur, Dera Murad Jamali, Hyderabad, Karachi Blues, Larkana, Quetta, Sialkot and Islamabad.

The tournament will see the top two sides from each group at the end of the group stage qualify for the Super 4 stage, where each team in that stage will play three matches. At the end of the Super 4 stage, the top side will qualify for next year’s Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. The first round of matches will be played between Islamabad and AJK in Muzaffarabad and Larkana and Sialkot in Mirpur for Group A.

For Group B, the first round of matches will be played between Hyderabad and Karachi Blues in Multan and Bahawalpur and Dera Murad Jamali in Rahim Yar Khan. The aim of the Hanif Mohammad Trophy will be to serve as a pathway for the regional sides to qualify for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.

This domestic structure has been structured by the PCB Cricket Technical Committee. The structure has replaced the previous model, that was introduced in 2019 – which focused on six cricket association teams. The new domestic structure incorporates a larger pool of players with up to 360 cricketers set to benefit from increased earning opportunities.

The previous edition of the QeAT was won by Northern, led by captain Umar Amin. Northern had defeated Sindh in the final at Gaddafi Stadium by an innings and 55 runs. Northern’s dominance in the season was highlighted by the way players like Muhammad Huraira and Mubasir Khan headlined the season. Sindh’s bowler Abrar Ahmed too had an extraordinary season, bagging 43 wickets in 12 innings.

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