New faces and some big names could miss out on PCB central contracts
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is currently in the process of finalizing the central contracts for players for the upcoming 2023-24 season. The current contracts are set to expire on June 30, prompting the PCB to begin working on new deals.
According to sources, there is a possibility of a 20% increase in players' salaries under the new contracts. After discussions with skipper Babar, a list of contracted players will be prepared and presented to the PCB management committee, headed by Najam Sethi. It is important to note that the tenure of the PCB management committee ends on June 21, before which the announcement of the contracted players is expected to be made.
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan, and Fakhar Zaman are likely to retain their positions in Category A. Furthermore, fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah are expected to receive promotions in their contracts. Notably, Naseem Shah will be included in both the red and white ball categories.
Several other players, including Iftikhar Ahmed, Saim Ayub, Ihsanullah, Usama Mir, Mohammad Haris, and Zaman Khan, are said to have secured a place in the contract list. Former captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, is also expected to retain his red-ball contract.
Chief Selector, Haroon Rashid, who is currently working on the new central contract, will discuss the player names with Pakistan team’s director, Mickey Arthur, head coach Grant Bradburn, and director of international cricket operations, Usman Wahla, before finalizing the list. Captain Babar’s input will also be taken into consideration during this process.
The PCB will continue its practice of awarding separate contracts for white-ball and red-ball cricket. The contracts will be categorized as A, B, and C, with separate emerging contracts being given to promising young players.
As part of the contract changes, veteran batsman Azhar Ali will be excluded from the centrally-contracted players list due to his retirement. Furthermore, players such as Fawad Alam, Haider Ali, Abid Ali, Yasir Shah, Nauman Ali, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, and Zahid Mehmood are also likely to lose their central contracts.
The PCB is actively working to finalize the new central contracts before the end of June, aiming to secure the players' signatures on the updated deals.
PCB men's central contracts list for 2022-23
RED AND WHITE-BALL CONTRACTS:
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi (all Category A), Hasan Ali (red-ball Category B, white-ball Category C) and Imam-ul-Haq (red-ball Category C, white-ball Category B)
RED BALL CONTRACTS:
Category A – Azhar Ali
Category B – Fawad Alam
Category C – Abdullah Shafique, Naseem Shah and Nauman Ali
Category D – Abid Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah
Category A – Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan
Category B – Haris Rauf
Category C – Mohammad Nawaz
Category D - Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mehmood
Ali Usman (Southern Punjab), Haseebullah (Balochistan), Kamran Ghulam (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Haris (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Huraira (Northern), Qasim Akram (Central Punjab) and Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab)