Former Pakistan fast bowler, Umar Gul have come out in support of having departmental cricket back in the country. Since the cricket structure was revamped in Pakistan domestic, there has been constant noises against the new one with the aim of bringing the old one back.
Pakistan Cricket Board has been criticized for demolishing the departmental cricket in the country with hundreds of players going jobless. Umar Gul, being a PCB cricket committee member and Misbah ul Haq as the Chief Selector-cum-Head Coach have urged the board to make a new plan for players who have lost their earnings through departmental cricket.
“The salary I used to receive from the department was sufficient to cover my monthly expenses. But now, honestly speaking, what we are earning from domestic matches, which includes match fees and a monthly retainer, is not enough to cover the needs of my family,” Gul told cricketpakistan.pk.
Right-arm pacer further demonstrated the need for departmental cricket back as it made players feel safe.
"The players felt secured in departmental cricket but that is no longer the case. We need departmental cricket back, even if it is in grade two, and I will continue to raise my voice in this regard as a member of the cricket committee,” he stated.
“In previous meetings, we talked about finding a window for it so that players who lost their livelihoods can get back to their lives.”
There was a possibility of departmental cricket returning as Iqbal Qasim brought forward the idea of having one but it never materialized, leading to Iqbal Qasim putting in a resignation.
After returning from a two-month long tour of England, head-coach Misbah pointed out the importance of livelihoods of players.
“The cricket board is trying to have an alternative for the players," Misbah said.
“You obviously don't want cricketers playing in the system to have their livelihoods fully abolished, or have a shortage of players, or that they face financial losses. We have spoken about this, but unfortunately, this issue hasn't progressed properly. One of the reasons are circumstances around Covid-19 when everything was shut down and it took over three months [to normalise]. And now the season is upon us and the board didn't get time to do much about it. But in my opinion, I think they should think about this. I did tell the PCB and the government and they should make a thorough plan on how to involve these cricketers and not leave them deserted," he added
Domestic cricket in Pakistan has been played among departments and regions since the early 1970s but now it remains to be seen whether we will see it coming back or continue with the new structure.