Cricket in Pakistan

The history of cricket in Pakistan predates the creation of the country in 1947. The first international cricket match in what is now Pakistan today was held in Karachi on 22 November 1935 between Sindh and Australia (see Figure 1). The match was seen by 5,000 Karachiites. Cricket was introduced by the British during their colonial rule of British India, which covered the area now known as Pakistan. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country.[1] The Pakistan Cricket Board controls all domestic cricket in Pakistan and the national teams. Pakistan is an official member of the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council. Pakistan has won the Cricket World Cup in 1992, ICC T20 World Cup in 2009, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup in 2004 and 2006, the ACC Asia Cup in 2000 and 2012, and the ICC Test Championship in 2016.

Cricket in Pakistan
Pakistan cricket team logo.png
Pakistan Cricket Logo
Governing bodyPCB
National team(s)Men
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions
Figure 1: The match between Sind and Australia in Karachi on November 22, 1935 was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald

Organisation and historyEdit

The Pakistan Cricket Board governs all official domestic tournaments. Pakistan is also an official member of the International Cricket Council and the Asian Cricket Council. Almost all cities and villages in Pakistan have their own cricket teams and unofficial tournaments. Pakistani children start playing cricket at a young age.

The game is the most popular sport in the country with the tape ball variety of the game being the most common. A tape ball is a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape and is used in playing backyard cricket. This modification of the tennis ball gives it greater weight, speed and distance while still being easier to play with than the conventional cricket ball. The variation was pioneered in Karachi, Pakistan and is credited with Pakistan's famous production of fast bowlers as children are brought up playing the game using a tape ball in which various skills are developed. The increasing popularity of the tape ball in informal, local cricket has transformed the way games are played in cricket-loving nations such as India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh but most famously Pakistan. Such has been the impact of tape ball that in recent years some companies have introduced tennis balls designed to act like cricket balls.[2] These balls are quite popular in South Asia where tape ball cricket is one of the most popular forms of the sport.[3]

Professional cricket has been played in Pakistan since its formation in 1947:

Locals playing tape ball cricket near Badshahi Masjid, Pakistan
Locals playing tape ball cricket near Nanga Parbat, Pakistan
Locals playing tape ball cricket in an interior Sindh village in Pakistan
Locals playing tape ball cricket near Rohtas Fort, Pakistan
Locals playing tape ball cricket in Chitral, Pakistan
Locals playing tape ball gully cricket in Pakistan
Test match between Pakistan and England at Headingley

International cricketEdit

Cricket is considered the most popular sport in Pakistan. After the partition of India in 1947 and the formation of Pakistan, Pakistan played its first official match[4] in 1952 under the captaincy of Abdul Kardar against India in 1952 registering their first Test victory[5] in Lucknow.[6] Women's cricket developed later in Pakistan with the women's national team playing their first match in 1997.

The national cricket team of Pakistan is governed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) - a permanent member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Pakistan national teams regularly participate in international home and away series - with the major series being against arch-rivals India. In addition, the Pakistan men's national team participates in the following major international tournaments:

Pakistan men's national team has had success on the international stage having a best international ranking of 1st in the Test, ODI and T20I cricket.[7][circular reference] In terms of tournament success:

From 2009 to 2019 Pakistan was unable to host international matches in Pakistan after the terror attack on the touring Sri Lanka cricket team. This decade led to little or no international cricket taking place in Pakistan and Pakistan played its home series in the UAE (specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi). Post 2019, international test cricket returned to Pakistan as the security situation improved. As of 2022, many teams have successfully toured Pakistan including Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Bangladesh and Australia while England & New Zealand are scheduled to tour in late 2022. Pakistan also got hosting rights for ICC Champions Trophy 2025 which is going to be first ICC event hosted by Pakistan in decades. The 2023 ACC Asia Cup is also scheduled to be held in Pakistan.

The Pakistan women's national cricket team has had moderate success on the international stage and is in development. However, the team is regularly ranked in the top 10 in the world.[8][circular reference] Thus far the women's national team has not won an ICC or ACC international tournament.

Domestic cricketEdit

The structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan at the highest level has changed many times since 1947 with the latest restructure being in 2019.[9] Previously domestic cricket operated with departmental, city and regional teams - a set up encouraged by Abdul Hafeez Kardar.[10] Since 1947, the domestic first class cricket system has varied considerably per year with teams ranging from 7 to 26 and tournament matches operating under different formats (often changes occurred every year). With the advent of domestic List A and T20 forms of cricket in the 1970s and 2000s, there has been no consistent set up (as has been noted for first class cricket in Pakistan). Historically, school and club cricket has also suffered due to inconsistencies in top tier domestic cricket. The consistent changes in the domestic structure and the gradual introduction of departmental teams was encouraged as it provided permanent jobs to players. Matches were rarely televised due to lack of quality cricket and lack of interest in departmental cricket. This inconsistent system was widely criticised on the basis of low quality cricket and reduced competition.

In 2019, six regional teams were created on provincial lines. The teams would compete in the principal competitions in all three forms of the game: the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (First Class), Pakistan Cup (List A) and National T20 Cup (Domestic T20). The PCB's rationale in reducing the number of teams in domestic cricket was to concentrate talent in order to increase competition and improve the quality of cricket. The new structure also consisted of corresponding second XI, under-19, under-16 and under-13 competitions, and live television coverage of top level matches.[11] The restructuring also reorganised district level cricket into a three tier bottom-up system, with 90 city cricket associations supervising school and club cricket at grassroots level, and inter-city tournaments providing a stepping-stone to the six elite regional teams.[12] The three tier bottom-up system can be summarised as follows[13]

The six regional teams (operated by respective six cricket associations) ensure that the affairs of the associations at city level are regulated. They frame policies that will develop cricket at the grassroots, manage club cricket in collaboration with the 90 city associations and also oversee intra-city competitions. The teams are responsible for revenue generation through sponsorship, marketing and strategic collaborations with business conglomerates. Each of the six regional teams have a chief executive officer and a management committee that has been tasked with supervising all cricketing activities. These changes have been made by the PCB in order to decentralise the administrative body so that it can limit itself to a supervisory role by delegating responsibilities related to the development of the sport to the provincial associations.[12] This tiered structure has been enshrined in the PCB constitution.[14]

An nationwide inter-city franchise T20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League, was inaugurated in 2016. In 2021, a franchise T20 tournament based in Kashmir was launched, titled the Kashmir Premier League.

Regional domestic tournamentsEdit

The main regional domestic cricket tournaments in Pakistan for men are contested by six elite regional teams with the cricket season starting in October and concluding in March. Second XI teams of the six regional teams compete in parallel competitions, and there are age group pathway tournaments at national, regional and local level. The elite tournaments are:

Women's domestic cricket tournaments take place between four teams. The main elite tournaments are:

Franchise tournamentsEdit

The main franchise domestic T20 cricket tournaments in Pakistan are:

Cricket stadiumsEdit

Pakistan is home to several cricket stadiums with the major/popular cricket stadiums (by province/territory) being as follows:



Khyber Pakhtunkhwa


Azad Kashmir


  • Gilgit: Pissan Cricket Stadium

Notable playersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Popularity of Cricket in South Asia". Archived from the original on 2017-03-25. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  2. ^ "A hard tennis ball designed for play in cricket". Archived from the original on 21 July 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
  3. ^ Guardian Sport (2017-07-19), Have you heard of Tape Ball cricket?, archived from the original on 2017-07-22, retrieved 2017-07-23
  4. ^ "Abdul Kardar". Cricinfo. Archived from the original on 2021-02-10. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  5. ^ "Full Scorecard of India vs Pakistan 2nd Test 1952/53 - Score Report |". ESPNcricinfo. Archived from the original on 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2021-02-21.
  6. ^ "Pakistan announce themselves". ESPN Cricinfo. 26 October 2005. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  7. ^ Pakistan national cricket team
  8. ^ Pakistan women's national cricket team
  9. ^ "PCB unveils new domestic set-up with 'stay at the top' mantra". ESPN Cricinfo. Archived from the original on 31 August 2019. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Dept cricket's abolition: Ex-cricketers split over Imran's decision". Archived from the original on 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  11. ^ "PCB confirms schedule of 266-match 2021-22 domestic season". Archived from the original on 2021-08-10. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  12. ^ a b "PCB's new domestic structure: Improvement at the price of unemployment?". The Express Tribune. February 25, 2020. Archived from the original on December 30, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "City Cricket Association tournament schedule announced". Archived from the original on 2021-08-10. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  14. ^ "PCB's new constitution confirms overhaul of domestic structure". ESPNcricinfo. Archived from the original on 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2021-02-20.

External linksEdit