Friday Sep 11, 2020
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), following backlash from former players including Aaqib Javed, has turned its upcoming talent hunt programme into open trials, allowing aspiring players with no formal cricketing background to also try their luck along with those that have youth-level experience.
Last week, the PCB had invited criticism after revealing that its week-long trials would only be open for teenagers that have either “represented Pakistan U19, played U19 tournaments in the 2019-20 domestic season, featured in U16 tournaments in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 domestic seasons or the top performers of the Inter-district tournament 2018-19”.
Javed and others had questioned the motive of closing the event for new, with others questioning if the PCB was now relying solely on talent hunt programmes of Pakistan Super League franchises to discover fresh cricketers.
The PCB, in a press release, claimed that its initial decision was due to Covid-19 but now that the government has decided to open educational institutions, the PCB, too, has opened its trials to anyone.
Saleem Jaffar, the chairman of National Junior Selection Committee, hinted that the “feedback” received also forced the PCB’s hand.
“The selectors have also made this decision based on feedback and comments we have received from various quarters on certain deserving players, who had failed to make the cut in the initially list of 291 players,” Jaffar is quoted as saying.
The PCB has also tweaked the schedule of the trials, saying that “it will now be held from September 16-19 at major cricket centres of all cricket associations and those who are born on or after September 1, 2001 will be eligible to appear.”
Those who make the cut will feature in the six U19 Cricket Association squads for the National One-Day Tournament and National Three-Day Tournament.