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PCB’s Restructuring Initiative Renders Departmental Cricketers Like Subhan Jobless

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The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to restructure the domestic cricket setup over the summer was met with strong opposition and anger from different quarters, especially from departmental players, who were certain that the move would render them jobless.

The worst fear of these players has come true after a video shared by a sports journalist showed a first-class cricketer Fazal Subhan driving a Suzuki pickup in Karachi to make ends meet, reported The News.

“Yes, I drive this [pickup] for bhara (fare),” Subhan, 31, told the journalist as he sat on the driving seat of an aqua blue pickup. “This is seasonal work. Some days there is a lot of work, and sometimes there is nothing for 10 days,” he added.

Providing details about his financial plight, he said, “I worked very hard to represent the national team. During departmental cricket, we were drawing a salary of Rs100,000 but since the departments have been shut down, we are now earning only Rs30,000 to 35,000, which is not enough to survive.”

“I am grateful that at least I have this job right now because the way things are going, who knows if I would even have this tomorrow. We have no choice except to earn something for our children,” he added.

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Subhan, who according to ESPNcricinfo.com has a first-class batting average of 32.87, said that many other cricketers have also fallen on hard times.

Detailing his playing career, Subhan said, “I played for Pakistan under-19 team, and I also played for Pakistan A. I appeared in 42 first-class matches and was among the top five players for two years. I played the home series in Lahore against India. I had played thrice in the series, and scored 39, an unbeaten 22 and once I was out for naught.”

“Once I was in the frame for a Pakistan call-up and I was told by the board to get ready. I had my passport scanned and also completed other formalities, but then I don’t know what happened. Someone else was selected in my place,” he added.

Several former cricketers reacted to the story, with veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal terming it a “sad and heartbreaking” story. Meanwhile, former Test cricketer Yasir Hameed also praised Subhan’s playing ability.

It is common for a large number of aspiring sportsmen to work hard and still not make it to the highest level. It is feared that many aspiring athletes would have to look for other means of earning livelihood due to the shrinking space for sports in the country.

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