School cricket plays a vital role in the development of the game at the grassroots level. But since its inception, Pakistan has thrived without a proper school cricket structure. In a country with cricketing talent in abundance, extraordinary individuals have come through. However, the lack of professionalism at the nascent stage of their careers has often seen them vanish from the scene.
Realising the potential of having a profound cricketing structure at the school level, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday inaugurated A.H. Kardar Cup, an inter-school tournament, for the development of the game at the grassroots level.
Named after Pakistan’s first Test captain and the mind behind the country’s domestic structure, the tournament encompasses more than 750 schools in all 16 regions, both private and government.
“This venture will provide us with an educated pool of cricketers,” PCB’s central committee’s chief executive Najam Sethi said, in a press conference at the National Cricket Academy (NCA). “There used to be school and college cricket in our times and we used to participate in it, but there is nothing of that sort in the present days.”
The cricket board has allocated around $750,000 for the tournament. It also plans to introduce identification cards for the students participating in the tournament, to aid the umpires and the referees in keeping the over-age players away from the tournament.
Image by the author.
Terming this programme to be a game-changer for the country’s cricket, PCB chairman Shahryar Khan hoped A.H. Kardar Cup will start producing the desired results after the first two editions. “We will have junior coaches observing the contests,” said Khan, “The outstanding players will be brought here [at the NCA] and will be groomed for the national team.”
The tournament begins from the first week of April. The pool matches will be 25-overs affairs, whereas, the regional and national finals will be 50-over per side.