KARACHI: Habib Bank Limited, one of Pakistan’s strongest teams in domestic cricket and currently the first class and one-day champions, has decided to exit from country’s domestic cricket competition after remaining a regular part of it for over four decades. The bank, in a statement, said that they’ve decided to exit from departmental cricket and demobilizing its team to continue to invest in the Pakistan Super League. “To continue to invest in HBLPSL, and in the larger interest of Cricket in Pakistan, HBL will redeploy its valuable resources from other avenues. This reinvestment will be partially achieved by existing departmental cricket, said the statement issued by the bank on Wednesday. “HBL has had a long history in departmental cricket and recognizes its valuable contributions to Pakistan cricket. Consequent to our enhanced focus on HBLPSL, the HBL cricket team will be demobilized,” the statement added. Since the inception of the team, some top players remained part of HBL’s domestic cricket team including Javed Miandad, Mohsin Khan, Abdul Qadir, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and many more. Bank’s recent squad included Imam ul Haq, Umar Akmal, Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, Imran Farhat, Umar Gul, Abid Ali, Imran Farhat, Abdul Rehman and Junaid Khan. The team last year won country’s premier first-class tournament Quaid e Azam Trophy beating SNGPL in the final. They had also won the Quaid e Azam Cup one day championship beating WAPDA in the final. The players were employed by the bank on contractual basis which expired at the end of March 2019 and it was not renewed. The Bank is yet to announce on future of over 30 cricketers and on-playing staff of the team. “HBL remains indebted to the players of the HBL cricket team who over the years have served the cause of cricket in Pakistan so admirably. HBL will look after the interests of its cricket team members in line with its policies,” the statement said. The decision doesn’t come as surprise to many as it was on cards after the reports suggested that PM Imran Khan has instructed the Pakistan Cricket Board to not to keep departments in cricket system in any capacity. HBL, however, reaffirms its commitment to support Pakistan Cricket. “HBL is part of the nation’s fabric and its commitment towards Cricket remains as strong as ever. HBL foresees a great future for Cricket in Pakistan where HBLPSL will remain a catalyst for bringing international cricket to Pakistan and enabling more matches to be played in the country. Moreover, HBLPSL will continue to discover, groom and nurture young talent for the benefit of Pakistan Cricket,” the statement said. “HBL’s title sponsorship of the HBLPSL, over the last four years, reflects our passion for the development of youth and the discovery of cricketing talent. HBLPSL has given an opportunity to countless young cricketers to display their talent at a national and international level. This has led to an unprecedented talent pipeline for Pakistan cricket and has played an instrumental role in discovering players like Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Hasan Ali and many more,” it added.