Senior players like Mohammed Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Haris Sohail were left out of a list of 20 Pakistan players who were awarded central contracts by the country’s cricket board with a 25 percent hike in annual retainership. Captain and top batsman Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi were placed in the highest bracket of Category A. Following the governing board’s approval of the 2021-22 fiscal year’s budget, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday announced an enhanced and performance-based central contract list 2021-22 for 20 elite men cricketers, including three emerging cricketers, in which match fee across all formats has been equalized.

The board, however, did not disclose the exact amounts to be paid to the players. Those missing out included Hafeez, who was offered a mid-year contract early this year, Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Abbas, Imad Wasim and Shan Masood. The list was finalised by the panel that comprised Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan, chief selector Muhammad Wasim and Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan, who also consulted head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam as part of the process. The 12-month contracts will run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

PCB Men’s Central Contract List 2021-22:

Category A — Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi

Category B — Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Fawad Alam, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah

Category C — Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, and Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Imran Butt, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Usman Qadir have been offered Emerging Category contracts by PCB.

Interestingly the PCB has also dropped young batsman, Haider Ali and fast bowler Naseem Shah from the contracts list in the emerging category. The PCB announced an across-the-board 25 per cent increase in the monthly retainers for all four categories.

The board said it was announcing an enhanced and performance-based central contract list for 2021-22 for 20 elite men cricketers in which match fee across all formats has also been equalised.

A Board official explained that previously, match fees of players differed in different categories in all formats based on seniority.

“But now that has been changed. Increases have been made in match fees of B, C and emerging categories in Test, ODI and T20 formats so that now all players get the same fees,” the Board stated.

The 12-month contracts will run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The wide-ranging increases announced for the contracted players include:

In Category A there would be no increase in Test, ODI and T20I match fee, while in Category B Test match fee has been increased by 15 per cent, ODI match fee increased by 20 per cent and T20I match fee increased by 25 percent.

In category C, the board has announced a 34 percent increase in Test match fee, 50 percent increase in ODI match fee, and 67 percent increase in T20I match fee.

The remuneration in Emerging Category has been increased by 15 percent, with 34 percent increase in Test match fee, 50 per cent increase in ODI match fee, 67 percent increase in T20I match fee.

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan made it clear that selecting 20 players from a big pool of quality cricketers is always a challenging task.

“In the new list, we have seen eight new players emerge who have now gained central contracts. Due to the competitive nature of the central contract system nine players who had contracts in 2020-21 have sadly missed out on this occasion,” he said.

“The door remains firmly open for these players and they will continue to remain in the plans of the selectors.

“The equalisation of match fees means that all players who walk out together to represent Pakistan will receive the same match fees irrespective of which category they are in, or whether they have a central contract or not,” he said.

(With Agency Inputs)