The 2020-21 season of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will commence on October 25 and will take place in its entirety in Karachi, the PCB confirmed in a detailed media release specifying the dates of all events under the revamped domestic calendar.
Taking into account the upcoming three global white-ball competitions, the PCB has decided to convert the Pakistan One-Day Cup and the National T20 Cup into a double-league. The increased number of matches serves as a guarantee that each team will play at least 10 games compared to five according to the previous format.
Following the league stage, the top four sides progress to the knockouts to compete in the semi-finals and then the final showdown, which decides the eventual champion.
The compressed international calendar sees two T20 World Cups scheduled in successive years in 2021 and 2022 while the 50-over World Cup will be staged in India in 2023. With Pakistan having recently lost their No. 1 ranking in T20Is and in sixth place in ODIs, they are in dire need of lifting their fortunes in the limited-overs formats under the leadership of Babar Azam.
“There has been a strategy and vision behind preparing this schedule, and the most notable is the increase in the number of white-ball matches at the senior and age-group level," said Director of High Performance Nadeem Khan.
"This has been done after taking into consideration our teams’ current international performances and rankings in white-ball cricket as well as to looking into the future, while also providing optimum chances to the deserving and budding cricketer to thoroughly show their mettle and impress the national selectors," he added.
The National T20 Cup will be the curtain-raiser of the season, bringing an end to the 24-week absence of professional cricket in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan's premier first-class tournament, will be played at grounds in Karachi across its 72-day period. This arrangement, in contrast to the past home-and-away style of fixtures, has been finalised taking into consideration the Covid-19 precautions that present travel restrictions for players and the need for a fixed bio-secure bubble.
“In the uncertain Covid-19 situation, I am pleased that we have been able to put together a complete domestic cricket schedule, which is challenging but will contribute significantly in getting the best out of all the players that, in turn, will uplift the quality and standard of our home cricket," Nadeem stated.
National T20 Cup 1st XI – 30 September to 18 October; Multan and Rawalpindi
HBL PSL 2020 (4 matches) – 14, 15 and 17 November; Lahore
Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 1st XI – 25 October to 5 January 2021; Karachi
Pakistan Cup 1st XI – 8-31 January 2021; Karachi