The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2017-18 began on September 26, 2017 across different grounds in the country. This year will be the 60th edition of the tournament. A total of 69 matches will be played among 16 teams, with eight each from regions and departments respectively. The regional teams include Lahore Blues, Lahore Whites, Karachi Whites, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, FATA and Peshawar while the departmental teams include WAPDA, Habib Bank, United Bank, SSGC, SNGPL, National Bank, KRL and Pakistan Television.
The final of the tournament will be played at the National Stadium, Karachi from December 16 to 20.
Named after the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the tournament is Pakistan’s premier first-class competition. The tournament was initially introduced in 1953 to select Pakistan’s test team that would travel to England for four test matches and a handful of other first-class fixtures. The initial event comprised of seven teams and was played in a knock-out format.
Trophy is named after the father of the nation, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The tournament then became a regular domestic fixture held every year from 1953 except the years 1955, 1960, 1965, 1967 and 1971 when the tournament was held off due to war and unrest in the country.
The inaugural edition of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy was won by Bahawalpur region that beat Punjab in the final under the captaincy of Khan Mohammad by 8 wickets. So far 16 different teams have won this tournament in 59 different seasons, the most recently by WAPDA who beat Habib Bank to lift their first trophy.
Here’s a look at the historical winners of this tournament:
Historically, the trophy has been dominated by Karachi and its teams, which have won it 20 times – most by any team in the tournament. The teams from Karachi were so dominant that they won seven consecutive tournaments from 1958-58 to 1966-67. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has won it 7 times while National Bank has won it five times.
Like winning the tournament, teams from Karachi have ended as the runner-up in a record ten seasons. United Bank has ended up as a runner-up in all six of their finals, failing to win any. Habib Bank has also finished the tournament as second-best in six different seasons.
Sixteen teams, eight each from regions and departments, are divided into two groups with eight teams each in the current season. The teams will play each other once in the initial rounds. Teams are ranked in the group by number of points earned through match performance. The top four teams from each group qualify for the super-eight stage.
In the super-eight stage, the teams are divided in two groups of four teams each and play each other once in a round-robin format. Here again, teams are ranked by number of points earned. The top team from each group qualifies for the final where the winner gets to lift the trophy.
In the past, the format has changed quite often. The tournament has been played on knock-out basis, round-robin format to decide the finalists or the winner and even having a football tournament style round of 16 knock-out format in the 2002-03 season.
a) The group stage and the super-eight stage of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy are played on points system.
i. A team winning the match after gaining a lead in the 1st innings will get 9 points.
ii. A team winning the match after conceding a lead in the 1st innings will get 6 points.
iii. A team winning the match after a tie in the 1st innings will get 6 points. The losing team will get no points.
iv. If a match ends in a draw, the team with a lead in the 1st innings will get 3 points.
v. If a match ends in a tie after two innings each, the team with a lead in the 1st innings will get 5 points. The second team will get 2 points.
vi. If a match ends in a complete tie after two innings each, both teams will get 2 points each.
vii. If a match gets abandoned or washed out before both teams completing their 1st innings, both teams will get 1 point each.
viii. If a team wins with an innings margin, it will get 1 bonus point.
ix. If a team was facing follow-on and saves the match with a draw, it will get 1 bonus point.
x. If a team was facing follow-on and wins the match, it will get 2 bonus points.
b) In case more than one team manages to score equal points in the points table at the end of the round matches:
i. The team having won the higher number of matches outright shall be ranked higher.
ii. If the teams have equal number of victories, then the winner shall be declared on the basis of lesser number of defeats.
iii. In case, the number of defeats is the same, then the team obtaining the higher Net run rate (overall in the round matches) shall be placed at the top and that obtaining next higher run rate shall be placed after the top team.
c) If the final match ends in a draw, the team with the lead in the first innings will get to lift the trophy.
Each team can have a squad of 20 players. Departmental teams offer independent contracts to their players while the regional teams pick their squad from their own region.
This year the Pakistan Cricket Board introduced a draft system that allowed regional teams to pick eight of their 20 members in the squad from a pool of uncontracted players. The remaining 12 were picked through the traditional process of picking up the best players from the respective region.
A player can represent only one team, regional or departmental, during the tournament.
Batting at the National Stadium, Karachi, Sind was 951/7 when its captain Aftab Baloch decided to declare the innings in response to Bahawalpur’s 93 all out. Aftab himself was the top-scorer with mammoth 428 runs.
Dacca University and Education Board were bundled out for just 29 runs in their second innings against Dacca at Dhaka. Dacca who had scored 308 runs in the first innings won the match by an innings and 101 runs. Quetta was dismissed for 30 in their first innings by Karachi B in a match in 1957. East Pakistan Whites was dismissed for 33 in 1956 while Zone A could manage only 35 against United Bnk in 1985-86.
Rawalpindi-born Ijaz Ahmed Junior has appeared in a record number of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches. He appeared in 146 matches in a career stretching over twenty-one seasons.
Shafiq Ahmed, who was an elegant batsman in Pakistan’s domestic circuit but failed to translate his potential at international level, leads the all-time batting charts . He scored 8787 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy at an average of over 50 with the help of 29 hundreds and 43 fifties. Ijaz Ahmed junior (not to be confused by 1992 WC winner Ijaz Ahmed) is at number two in this list with 8337 runs in 146 matches. Saeed Anwar Jr, (not to be confused with the more famous opening batsman) is still active and playing, and he lies at no. 3 with 7905 runs.
Karachi’s Parsi Institute Ground saw Hanif Mohammad successfully break Sir Don Bradman’s record of 452 runs in a first-class innings. It was the semi-final of Quaid-e-Azam trophy 1958-59 between Karachi and Bahawalpur. Unfortunately he was run out for 499 in that innings which remained a first-class record for almost four decades until Brian Lara bettered it with 501.
Renala Khurd born Abdur Rauf is the most successful bowler in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy taking 462 scalps in just 96 matches. Rauf is followed by leg-break bowler Iqbal Sikander, who sent 413 batsmen back to the pavilion. Unfortunately, Iqbal didn’t get a chance to play tests for Pakistan but he was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 1992. Shahid Mahboob was another unfortunate bowler who despite taking 408 wickets in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy represented Pakistan in only one Test match.
Shahid Mahmood, in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Khairpur in 1969-70, became the first Pakistani bowler to take all ten wickets in an innings. The feat was then repeated by Rawalpindi’s Naeem Akhtar who dismissed all ten of Peshawar’s batsmen. Zulfiqar Babar became the latest and the third bowler to record a perfect 10 in a match for Multan against Islamabad in 2009.
Charsadda-born Zulfiqar Jan leads the charts here. Despite affecting 401 dismissals in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, he never got to represent Pakistan. The main reason was his batting which was nowhere near international standards. Kamran Akmal has affected 393 dismissals in 101 QeA Trophy games taking 367 catches and 26 stumpings. Ahmed Said affected 317 dismissals in 91 matches followed by Mohammad Salman who has made 314 dismissals behind the stumps in 109 matches.
Rafatullah Mohmand and Aamer Sajjad paired together to record a gigantic 580 runs partnership for WAPDA against the SSGC – which is the highest second wicket partnership in all first class cricket. Misbah-ul-Haq and Usman Arshad partnered to 479 runs for the fifth wicket in 2009/10 – second highest fifth wicket partnership at that time.