LAHORE: As many as 93 sides will be in action across the country in the City Cricket Association Tournament 2021-22 from July 5 to 6, which will provide a pathway to around 1,800 cricketers to graduate to the Cricket Association tournaments that include first-class, non first-class three-day, 50-over and 20-over competitions.
According to the event format, each match will be of two days with 100 overs to be bowled each day in seven hours and 20 minutes of play with a two-hour break from 1200-1400. To encourage positive and result-oriented cricket, first innings will be limited to 75 overs per side and no bowler shall bowl more than 15 overs in an innings. Each City Cricket Association, depending on the number of cities in that association, will be split into groups with each Cricket Association to ultimately have a champion.
Balochistan comprise 13 City Cricket Associations, Central Punjab 16, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 19, Northern 11, Sindh 17 and Southern Punjab 14. However, and as per past practice, the three Lahore Zones will have two sides each, which take the grand total of sides participating in the tournament to 93, a PCB spokesman, said, adding: "As part of its strategy to encourage, attract and reward cricketers, the PCB, for the first time at this level, will be offering match fees to the cricketers."
This tournament has been redesigned following the August 19, 2019 constitution and as in line with the City Cricket Association Model Constitution. Previously, inter-district competitions were held to assist in regional sides' selections for the domestic season. Balochistan, Northern and Southern Punjab CCAs have been split into two groups each with the group leaders to progress to the final. In contrast, the Central Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh CCAs will be divided into three groups each with group leaders to progress to the triangular series stage and the side with most points to be adjudged as the winner.
As limited club cricket was played in the 2020-21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing registration process, the 93 sides have been selected through an open trial process. These trials were conducted by the national selectors and to ensure meritocracy, independent observers watched the trials, which were also filmed and recorded for future references.
The PCB hopes after club cricket resumes at some stage this year, the requirement for open trials will not be required as top club cricket performers will automatically be chosen for the CCA tournament from next year.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021