Quality, not quantity seems to be the driving mantra behind the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) latest revamping of the domestic structure of the sport. With the many features introduced in the new system, too many to delve into too much detail, the central motivation to bring changes to the existing system seems to be an intention to decentralise powers in the sport and make provincial set-ups more empowered to make their own decisions. In principle, this is an excellent idea, but scrapping the old 16-team system in favour of a more streamlined 6 provincial-team event might lead to a smaller pool of cricketers to construct the national team in the future.

For instance, lumping three major regions of Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad – with a total population of roughly 60 million – in one Central Punjab first-class team, compared to allowing one team for South Punjab – with half the population of Central—is tantamount to denying domestic players in Central Punjab the same opportunities as those in lower population density areas.

Lahore now has to form three teams, from a total number of 132 clubs in the city alone. This is only going to cause problems in the selection; many capable players will be left out, unable to showcase their talents for the national selectors and no longer able to earn a living through playing the sport.

There are other problems too – it seems that the national cricket board has not even considered the fate of women’s cricket in the country, when asked about it, Director of Domestic Cricket Haroon Rashid only replied that a decision has been taken. What this decision is and how it affects women in the sport is anyone’s guess at this point.

Ultimately, the biggest problem in the new set-up is that PCB has not taken any of the stakeholders on board. Players, coaches and clubs will now be forced to change to the new format and given that everything in their career and the sport they love is going to change, it would have been helpful if PCB drafted the new make-up of domestic cricket with at least a little more transparency. If this does not prove to be massively successful, we might see a different government change the set-up yet again, causing irreparable damage to the sport that the entire country lives and breathes.