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Ramiz Raja questions PCB’s toothless central contracts

The central contracts were renewed on Wednesday by the Ehsan Mani-led administration

PHOTO: Reuters

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja is unimpressed with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s central contract policy, which was renewed on Wednesday by the Ehsan Mani-led administration.   

Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmad were the two new faces in the 18-player men’s central contract list for the 2020-21 season, which will come into effect from July 1, for the next 12-month period. Meanwhile, pacers Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz have missed out on central contracts.

Category A includes Test captain Azhar Ali, T20I and ODI skipper Babar Azam and pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Category B has batsmen Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Shan Masood, pacer Mohammad Abbas, wicketkeeper-batsmen Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfaraz Ahmed, and leg-spinners Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah.

In Category C, the PCB has inducted openers Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq, all-rounders Iftikhar Ahmed and Imad Wasim and pacers Naseem Shah and Usman Shinwari.

Emerging Players’ Category includes top-order batsman Haider Ali and pacers Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain.

While speaking on his YouTube channel, Raja questioned PCB’s policy to prefer Test cricketers while awarding the contracts.  

“I was looking at category B, where six out of nine players only play one format which is Test cricket; where we our ranked seventh in the world,” said Raja. “On the other hand, we have been one of the top-ranked sides in the world in T20 cricket but the central contracts do not give much incentive to the players who are involved in the shortest format of the game.”

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Raja also spoke about providing more incentives to players in first-class cricket in order to protect the raw talent.

“In the lower tier such as first-class cricket, there should also be incentives for players because that is where the actual talent comes from,” he said. “Although they have given incentives to young players like Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain and Haider Ali but I still feel more youngsters should be inducted in this list.”