Keeping the focus on its policy of quality instead of quantity, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday reduced the number of central contract players from 33 to 19 with former captains Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik being notable exclusions. However, a significant increase in the monthly stipend ranging from 25 per cent to 40 per cent has been given for next 12 months to the selected players.
As there is no national selection committee exists at this time, the three PCB directors — Zakir Khan (International), Mudassar Nazar (Academies) and Haroon Rasheed (domestic) — along with outgoing Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur had given their inputs before the finalising the list of 19 players with PCB managing director Wasim Khan.
Dawn learnt that the new selection committee, which is yet to be formed, however, will have the authority to induct more players in the list. Furthermore, a fair number of players will be given central contracts for representing their provincial teams in the revamped Quaid-i-Azam Trophy. “The Pakistan Cricket Board announced list of central contracts for the 2019-20 season during which the men’s cricket team will play six World Test Championship Tests, three ODIs and nine T20Is,’ a PCB press release stated on Thursday.
“The list has been trimmed from 33 to 19.”
The new list features the following 19 players:
Category A: Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah.
Category B: Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz.
Category C: Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari..
Meanwhile, besides Hafeez and Shoaib, 13 others who were delisted are Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Saad Ali, Hussain Talat, Usman Salahuddin, Asif Ali, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Umaid Asif, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Nawaz and Rumman Raees.
Apart from Wahab, who moved from category C to B, others being promoted to category B from C are Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, while Shaheen Shah Afridi has jumped from category E to B and Mohammad Rizwan from category E to C.
Among those demoted are besides Amir are Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali with both of them going down from category B to C.
Players in the A category will now get approximately Rs1.1million from the previous monthly remuneration of Rs 850,000. Likewise, the B category contracts are worth roughly Rs750,000 instead of Rs500,000 while the category C players would be paid Rs550,000 instead of Rs 350,000.
“While finalising the list of central contracts, which will run from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, players’ performances and fitness in the past 12 months and the formats they are likely to represent Pakistan in the upcoming season was taken into consideration,” the PCB release further said. “Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have not been offered contracts but they will remain available for selection.”
Meanwhile, PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan said: “I want to congratulate all those who have been offered central contracts for the next season. We have significantly increased the financial value of the 2019-20 retainers across each category. This is over and above what had been agreed in the current agreement, which is due to run until 2021.
“The PCB has set high standards and targets in its strategic plan for the upcoming season. We want to attach a high value to receiving a central contract. We have complete faith and confidences that these players will set-up and produce on-field performances that will help us collectively achieve our objectives and targets.”