Quetta’s Bugti Stadium has been selected as one of the nine venues which will host the 31 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019-2020 fixtures from September 14 to December 9.
This marks the return of Bugti Stadium as a first-class venue after 11 years as it will conduct four home games for Balochistan throughout the season.
The games scheduled to be held at the venue include – second round fixture against Southern Punjab (21-24 September), third round fixture against Central Punjab (28 Sep-1 October), fifth round fixture against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (28-31 Oct) and sixth round fixture against Southern Punjab (4-7 November).
The Bugti Stadium has staged only a solitary international fixture since it was inaugurated - an ODI between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in 1996.
It last hosted a first-class match in October 2008 when the home side played against the North-West Frontier Province in the 2008-09 Pentangular Cup.
Karachi will host as many as 11 matches across its three stadiums, including the final of the competition.
In addition to the Bugti Stadium, the venues comprise of the following:
Abbottabad Stadium, Abbottabad - 6
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore – 3
Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad – 3
Jinnah Stadium, Sialkot - 1
KRL Stadium, Rawalpindi – 3
National Stadium, Karachi – 5 (including 9-13 Dec final)
State Bank Stadium, Karachi - 1
UBL Sports Complex, Karachi – 5
“The resumption of active first-class cricket in Quetta is aligned to the PCB’s strategic objective of reviving and taking cricket to every nook and corner of the country, attracting local players by giving them opportunities to get closer to the established cricketers and generating interest in the region," said Director of Domestic Cricket Haroon Rashid.
“Separately, the PCB is already exploring commercialisation opportunities around the Bugti Stadium.
“We are confident that resumption of first-class cricket will play its part in not only activating cricket activities in the region but also expediting the process and attracting more entrepreneurs, which, in turn, will generate employment and revenue opportunities.”
Red-ball cricket will be stopped midway through the tournament to make room for T20 cricket in a bid to produce in-form players in the shortest format ahead of the three-match T20I series in Australia.
The First and Second XI T20 tournaments will run simultaneously to help the HBL Pakistan Super League franchises to spot players ahead of the player draft for the next year’s edition.
The PCB has also decided to officially introduce the no-toss rule giving visiting sides the option to bowl first so that the contest is evenly balanced and not tilted in favour of the home team.
The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Second XI tournament, which consists of 30 group matches of three-day durations, will conclude with the final four-day fixture from November 26 to 29.
"The city of Mirpur in Azad and Jammu Kashmir will host four Second XI matches, starting from the second round contest between Northern and Central Punjab," the PCB press release stated.
This decision is expected to grow the game in a previously neglected region and attract people towards the game by watching the country's top cricketers in action.
“The upcoming season will groom our domestic cricketers to deliver in different situations. They will travel across the country and the challenge of playing at away venues is bound to help players get stronger mentally and be ready for the uphill tasks that they are going to be exposed to at the international level," Rashid added.