PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday unveiled the new competitive 2019-20 domestic cricket season structure to improve first-class cricket.

The PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani, Chief Executive Wasim Khan and Director Domestic Cricket Operations Haroon Rasheed unveiled the new structure at a ceremony at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore.

According to the new structure, the 16 regional teams have now been merged into the newly formed associations. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cricket Association includes Peshawar, erstwhile Fata and Abbottabad; Sindh Cricket Association includes Karachi, Hyderabad and Larkana; Balochistan Cricket Association comprises Dera Murad Jamali and Quetta; Southern Punjab Cricket Association includes Multan and Bahawalpur; Central Punjab Cricket Association includes Faisalabad, Sialkot and Lahore; Northern Cricket Association includes Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Azad-Jammu Kashmir.

The new domestic structure will be based on a three-tiered bottom-up approach to provide a clear pathway for the aspiring cricketers to graduate to the top level, bringing in more young and talented cricketers in the system.

In the first tier, the 90 city cricket associations will be organize club and school cricket competitions. In the second category, city cricket teams will participate in inter-city competitions, while in the third tier, the best performing players from the inter-city competitions will form the six respective cricket association side that will participate in the PCB-organised tournaments.

The cricket associations will be bound to give contracts to 32 players, while they will also be free to include any other player on agreed payment. The players having domestic contracts will receive monthly stipened of Rs50,000 and high-performing players will get more privileges.

Under the new structure employment opportunities for the qualified coaching staff and former cricketers will be created.

Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will be played from September 14 to October 08 and October 28 to December 13. The National U-19 tournament will be played from October 1 to November 12. The National T20 Cup will be played from October 13 to 24.

Kookaburra balls will be used in first class matches keeping in view the requirements of modern international competitive cricket.

Former cricketers have expressed mixed reaction over the new structure with some supporting it and others expressing reservations.