Veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik have been dropped from the list of Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) centrally contracted players for 2019-20.
The annual central contracts’ list was announced on Thursday by the PCB with the number of categories being reduced from five to three. Only 19 players have been contracted centrally by the PCB for the upcoming season compared to the 33 who were handed out contracts last year.
Hafeez and Malik’s omissions were the biggest talking points from the contract list with the two veterans failing to find a place in a single category. Malik had recently announced his retirement from ODI cricket following the completion of the 2019 ICC World Cup.
Malik had been handed a category A contract by the PCB for the 2018-19 season. Meanwhile, Hafeez had previously held a category B contract with the PCB. The 38-year-old all-rounder is yet to take a call on his international future.
Only three players – Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah – have been handed category A contracts this time around. Apart from the exclusions of Hafeez and Malik, there were demotions for pacer Mohammad Amir and opening batsman Fakhar Zaman.
Amir, who recently announced his retirement from Test cricket, has been demoted from category A to B alongside Test specialist Azhar Ali. Fakhar, on the other hand, has dropped down from category B to C in the latest list.
Teenage pacer Shaheen Afridi has made a big jump with the southpaw being promoted to category B after being placed in category E last year. Others to have earned promotions in the latest contract list include opener Imam-ul-Haq (C to B), Haris Soahil (C to B), Wahab Riaz (C to B) and Mohammad Abbas (C to B).
While the number of players contracted by the PCB has been reduced for the coming season, the value of the annual contracts has shot up between 25 to 40 per cent.
“We have significantly increased the financial value of the 2019-20 retainers across each category,” PCB managing director Wasim Khan said in a statement.
“This is over and above what had been agreed in the current agreement, which is due to run until 2021.
“The PCB have set high standards and targets in its strategic plan for the upcoming season. We want to attach a high value to receiving a central contract. We have complete faith and confidence that these players will set up and produce on-field performances that will help us collectively achieve our objectives and targets.”
The latest contracts are valid from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
PCB ANNUAL CENTRAL CONTRACTS’ LIST 2019-20
Category A: Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah.
Category B: Imam-ul-Haq, Shadab Khan, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Asad Shafiq, Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz.
Category C: Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and Usman Shinwari.
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