Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has released its list of centrally contracted players for the 2018/19 season. Opening batsmen Ahmed Shehzad and Sami Aslam, as well as pacer Sohail Khan, are among the major exclusions in the 33-man contract list.
The revamped central contract classification sees a significant hike in salaries as well as an additional category to reward emerging cricketers in the domestic circuit. The development comes in the wake of discourse between the board and player representatives Sarfraz Ahmed as well as Shoaib Malik.
PCB has reached a new three-year remuneration agreement which increases player salaries by 25 to 30 percent. Match fees will also be raised by 20 percent for cricketers belonging to all five categories. Additionally, a pre-agreed percentage increase will also be given to the players in the last two years of the new contract.
The PCB media release explained that the new category (E) was inducted in order "to recognize performers on the domestic circuit as well as to encourage the continuing development of emerging cricketers from the junior cricket level".
While Sami Aslam and Sohail Khan have seen their places usurped by seemingly better alternatives, Ahmed Shehzad's omission can be attributed to his provisional suspension. He failed a dope test conducted during a 50-over domestic competition in April. All three players were in Category 'C' last year.
Rising star Babar Azam takes up Mohammad Hafeez's place in Category 'A'. The experienced spin bowling all-rounder finds himself demoted to Category 'B'. The contract list for the 2018/19 season reflects Pakistan's recent progress in the limited-overs formats. Young players, primarily responsible for the team's resurgence in white-ball cricket, are the major movers.
All-rounder Faheem Ashraf vaults to Category 'B' from Category 'D'. Swashbuckling opener Fakhar Zaman and leg-spinner Shadab Khan move one classification to enter Category 'B'. Imam-ul-Haq has been rewarded for his impressive start at the highest level. He rises to Category 'C'.
Category A (*PKR 875,000)
Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir
Category B (PKR 550,000)
Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Hafeez and Hasan Ali
Category C (PKR 375,000)
Wahab Riaz, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Abbas
Category D (PKR 190,000)
Rumman Raees, Asif Ali, Usman Salahuddin, Hussain Talat and Rahat Ali
Category E (PKR 100,000)
Bilal Asif, Saad Ali, Mir Hamza, Umaid Asif, Mohammad Rizwan, Sahibzada Farhan and Shaheen Shah Afridi
(*denotes monthly salaries in Pakistani Rupee)Published 07 Aug 2018, 00:55 IST