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The Pakistani Cricket Board has offered Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and Mohammad Rizwan the highest grade of central contract for the year 2021-22. Moreover, a total of 20 players have been given 12-month contracts whose duration will be from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. All these players will have equalized match fees irrespective of their categories. Last year, Hasan had missed out on a contract owing to an injury. This year, Rizwan has been promoted from Grade B to Grade A.
Interestingly, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf and Nauman Ali fall among the new faces in the list. Although nine players who held central contracts in 2020-21 have missed out on this year’s list, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said that the doors will firmly remain open to the missed out players and they will remain in the plans of the selectors.
Wasim Khan also added that selecting 20 players amidst a big pool of quality players has always been a challenging task. Thus, the emerging categories recognize and reward the upcoming talent in the field of cricket. As a result, this category remains an open platform for young players to break into the central contract system.
Moreover, Category A to C retainers saw a 25% increase. Additionally, the Emergent Category retainers have also been boosted by 15%. Khan, in this regard, said that keeping in mind the challenging economic climate, the Pakistani Cricket Board felt that it was important to continue showing some advancement in the value of central contracts. This is because in the last two years, there has been significant progress in central contract payments and thus the PCB will commit to improving the value of contracts every year.
Earlier this year, the Board offered mid-year contracts to Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Abbas, Shan Masood, Sohail and Imad Wasim. However, the list missed out on the names of these people. Importantly, just like last year, seniors like Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik remain out of the list.
The PCB has also dropped fast-bowler Naseem Shah and young batsman Haider Ali from the emergent category. It did not disclose the exact amounts that are to be paid to each player. But, a PCB official explained that based on seniority, the match fees of players differed in different categories. Lastly, a panel comprising of Zakir Khan, Muhammad Wasim and Nadeem Shah finalized the list.