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An official said the PCB has decided to now turn its attention to this their junior cricket © Getty Images

Karachi: Aug 29, 2014

Keeping in mind the lack of back-up talent in Pakistan cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is negotiating with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to regularly organise home and away series for the junior and ‘A’ teams.

“The PCB is presently negotiating with the South African and Sri Lankan boards to sign a long-term agreement for the junior and A team tours,” an official in the board told PTI. He said the PCB had started the negotiations after being criticised for not doing enough to provide more exposure opportunities for the bench strength of Pakistan cricket.

Critics including former players have pointed out that in last few years the PCB has not taken the issue of organising tours and series for the junior and A teams on regular basis seriously. They have pointed out that in contrast other boards were investing a lot in their second-tier players. “Most of time whoever heads the board and the senior employees and even former players employed at the national cricket academy are only worried about the national team and no one has bothered to do enough to have tours and series for our second-string players,” former captain Rashid Latif said.

He said having regular tours and series for Pakistan junior and A teams were integral part of Pakistan cricket’s development. “Unless our bench-strength players are not given exposure against other teams at international level how can they develop and polish their skills. This is the reason why our current lot of new players find it difficult to settle down strongly at the international level,” he said.

The official said that having watched other boards including the Indians, South Africans, Sri Lankans, Australians and New Zealanders regularly organise series and matches of their A teams, the PCB had also decided to now turn its attention to this area. “Hopefully the board will be able to sign at least three- year agreements with the South African and Sri Lankan boards. One problem for the PCB is the heavy costs involved in hosting A teams at neutral venues.”