LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has turned its focus on regions and districts cricket to revive cricketing fortunes.

Speaking at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) general council meeting held here at a local hotel Tuesday, board chairman Shaharyar M Khan has come down hard against those who are involved in nepotism and favouritism while selecting the players and warned that a stern action will be taken against such people. “To discourage nepotism and favouritism, the PCB nominates its own selectors to select districts and regions teams which not only helps the players get selected purely on merit but also keeps dishonest local selectors away from their wrongdoings.”

The PCB chief announced that the board had awarded affiliation to four new districts and also appointed Shahmsa Hashmi as women wing general manager.

Shaharyar said the board had noted the entire reservations expressed by the all the regions and districts representatives which will be redressed soon. This time, the general council meeting was held after a gap of three years in which Lasbella, Khazdar, Jaffarabad and Jam Shoro districts were affiliated with the board, he added.

“The PCB wants to provide financial support to all the regions and districts but due to financial problems being faced by the board, we are unable to do so but sincere efforts are on and we are trying to get sponsorships for all the districts and we too will also provide them financial help despite our limited resources,” the PCB chief said.

About revival of international cricket in Pakistan and efforts being made by the PCB in this regard, Shaharyar said: “Due to our sincere efforts to resume international cricket in Pakistan, the teams of Afghanistan and Kenya have already visited the country and now the first Test playing team Zimbabwe is ready to visit us after March 2009. Bangladesh women cricket tour to Pakistan is also on the cards. So we can claim soon the home grounds will be hosting international teams.”  Replaying to a question, the PCB chief said like National Cricket Academy (NCA) Lahore, the NCA in Karachi was also completed. “After Lahore and Karachi, we want to establish such academies in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Mutlan which will help in providing international level facilities to the local players.”

“According to the International Cricket Council (ICC) Future Tour Programme (FTP), Pakistan has to play a series against arch-rivals India which will help the board earn a hefty amount which will be good enough for the board to resolve all its financial issues. As soon as we improve our finances, it is my promise that all the regions and districts will be boosted financially,” Shaharyar concluded.