LAHORE - Lahore Regional Cricket Association (LRCA) president Khawaja Nadeem Ahmad has termed the new first-class cricket format better for domestic cricket adding if top teams would compete against each other in first-class fixtures, it will further improve its quality.

Talking to The Nation, Nadeem said: “The new first-class format will help in improving quality of cricket as according to it, only top teams will qualify for the main events, so competitive and quality cricket will be witnessed at domestic level. There is always room for improvement, so after the experience of first season, it can be further improved.

“Being a regional president, the old format was in favour of me as two of region’s teams had to play the first-class events but if I prefer cricket’s betterment, then new format is quite fruitful as it will provide chances to those teams that come forward after fighting and winning their matches from lower level and competitions among them will make the first-class cricket more challenging,” he added.

When asked about poor show of Lahore teams in National T20 Cup, Nadeem said: “The T20 game is not a parameter to check and judge the players’ abilities nor the players be selected on their performances in such events but unfortunately the board and media are believing on this which is injustice to genuine and quality cricketers. The real parameter to check the players’ skills and abilities is four-day or Test cricket and those who prove their mettle in the longer format of the game, must be given chance at higher level.

“We have selected Lahore’s teams purely on merit and picked top national and international cricketers. But in T20 cricket, it’s too tough to judge the winners as the minnows like Zimbabwe and Ireland are usually unpredictable against mighty teams. The format of the National T20 was also not up to the mark as one of our teams won all its three matches and lost the last one, which deprived it of moving into the next round. There is a need to improve its format,” he added.

To a query regarding LRCA’s fact-finding committee on Lahore teams’s debacle in T20 Cup, he said: “I hope the LRCA probe committee will succeed in finding out facts behind the teams’ debacle and their suggestions and recommendations will not only implement by the LRCA but will also be forwarded to the PCB for further necessary action.” Nadeem said: “The top performers of the LRCA-Commissioner Lahore Cricket Cup will be groomed in camps under experienced coaches while they will also be inducted in the U-16 and U-19 teams to further groom them for bigger events.” Revealing the LRCA plans about promotion of cricket at grassroots level, he said that the region would hold inter-district cricket throughout the year in which four teams of the zones would keep on playing against each other and the consistent performers would be given chances first-class and national events.

To a query regarding selection of the regional teams for Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and other first-class event, the LRCA chief said: “We have very less role in the selection of regional teams as it was mainly done by the PCB and its representatives so the board should be held responsible if the teams fail to deliver.” Denying the news of imposing one-year ban on Imran Farhat by LRCA, Nadeem said: “The LRCA has not imposed any ban on Imran Farhat, who violated the code of conduct. But we have a plan to form a committee to take a disciplinary action against him while we will urge the PCB to take stern action against him for breaching the code of conduct.”