The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced a fresh set of central contracts for the year 2018-19 for 33 of its players across five categories, an increase by one.
Babar Azam, who in a very short span has become a key member across all three formats for Pakistan, was promoted to the top category, while the record-breaking Fakhar Zaman, and Shadab Khan were slotted into category B from C.
Faheem Ashraf, having impressed with his all-round abilities, jumped two places, getting into category B from D last year, while Hasan Ali retained his position in category B. Meanwhile Imam-ul-Haq, who has had a phenomenal start to his white-ball career with four hundreds in just nine One-Day Internationals has been promoted to category C.
Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir retained their spots in the top bracket of the central contracts.
The ones to lose out were Mohammad Hafeez, who slipped from category A to B, Imad Wasim (B to C) and Rahat Ali (C to D). The biggest omission was that of Ahmed Shehzad, who finds himself out of a central contract after being suspended for a doping violation last month. Sami Aslam, the opener, and Sohail Khan, the medium pacer, have also been omitted from the list of contracts released by PCB.
In addition, PCB also announced a new category E to recognise performers in the domestic circuit.
"A new category "E" has been added to the central contracts to recognize performers on the domestic circuit as well as to encourage the continuing development of emerging cricketers from the junior cricket level," the release stated.
The Pakistan players are also set for a significant salary hike according to the new contracts. "PCB has raised the monthly remuneration for each of its categories ranging between 25-30%, and has also increased its players match fees by 20% across categories," said the release.
The full list released by PCB is as follows:
Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir
Muhammad Hafeez, Faheem Ashraf, Asad Shafiq, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan
Muhammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Imamul Haq, Muhammad Nawaz, Usman Khan Shinwari, Shaan Masood, Imad Wasim,
Rumman Raees, Asif Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Salahuddin, Hussain Talat,
Bilal Asif, Saad Ali, Muhammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sahibzada Farhan, Umaid Asif, Mir Hamza
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