LOSING a crop of clubs to a breakaway rival might have been the end of some cricket leagues, but that does not seem to be the case with the Quaid-e-Azam Sunday League.

Quite the opposite in fact as 14 teams have applied to join for next season, taking the number of teams to 28, with four more applications to be processed in the immediate future.

The future of the original league, whose first season was in 1980, was cast into doubt last winter when a rival organisation, the Quaid-e-Azam Premier Cricket League, was formed with 26 clubs in three divisions.

It was launched in mid-March by executive chairperson Basharat Hussain - formerly chairman of the original league - at the Kashmiri Aroma Restaurant in Frizinghall, just before the first lockdown

But the original league have bounced back well and held their annual meeting - the first part of it anyway - by Zoom between Christmas and new year.

On the agenda were two items - the re-election of the committee, who were put back in place for the next two seasons, and the approval of the 14 new teams - and the feedback was very positive, with clubs saying the meeting was “efficient, effective, engaging, and constructive”.

The new applicants were unanimously approved and there will be four divisions - Premiership, Championship, Division 1A and Division 1B.

The 14 teams are Great Horton Church Panthers, Manningham, Pak Cuisine, Panyam, Dewsbury Elite, Raja Riders, Azeems, Attock SC, Asian Tigers, Gulhar, CJ’s XI, Zain, Mirpur and Mangla Utd.

In addition there will be three 40-over cups - Cup, Shield and Trophy - and three T20 cups, also called Cup, Shield and Trophy.

League secretary Naheem Malik said: “We have never had so many teams applying into the original Quaid-e-Azam League previously, so that’s another historic moment for the original league.

“However, the league’s main agenda isn’t quantity of teams but quality of the teams who meet the set criteria and requirements.

“The members also commended the executive committee for their hard work over past 11-12 months to bring the league back to where it belongs and set standards for other Sunday leagues to follow.”

Now the league fixtures can be compiled, the new teams set up on the league’s Play Cricket website, and training for club and league officials can also take place.

The second part of the annual meeting will be in March or April, when proposals will be discussed, the league accounts verified and playing conditions set.

It will also enable the league to hopefully have face-to-face meetings and decide what to do for the 2021 season as more information will then be available.