RAWALPINDI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam, wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, opener Imam-ul-Haq, pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali were awarded both red and white-ball central contracts by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday.
Amongst these five, Babar, Rizwan and Shaheen are in Category A contracts in both formats. While Hasan has a Category B contract in red-ball cricket and Category C contract in white-ball cricket, Imam fetched a Category B contract in white-ball cricket while finding himself in Category C contract in red-ball cricket.
This is the first time that the PCB has introduced separate central contracts in both red and white-ball cricket, which come into effect from Friday for the 2022/23 season. PCB added that four more players have been added to the Emerging Category, taking the total of players receiving men's contracts to 33 players, 13 more than the previous season.
Amongst the 10 players who have received red-ball contracts, middle-order batter Azhar Ali has been promoted to Category A. Opener Abdullah Shafique and pacer Naseem Shah have been placed in Category C for the first time along with Saud Shakeel, who has been awarded Category D.
Fawad Alam and Nauman Ali have been retained in Category B and C, respectively, whereas Abid Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah have been handed Category D contracts. Omissions include all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and pacer Mohammad Hasnain, who is back into competitive cricket after being suspended over his bowling action.
In white-ball contracts, batter Fakhar Zaman and leg-spin all-rounder Shadab Khan, who were in Category B in 2021/22, have been awarded Category A contracts, while pacer Haris Rauf has been promoted to Category B. Left-arm spin all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz has been retained in Category C.
Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani and leg-spinner Usman Qadir have been promoted from Emerging to Category D where they are joined by first-timers Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Zahid Mehmood.
In the Emerging Category, the PCB as part of its strategy to encourage, develop and incentivise up-and-coming domestic performers, has increased the number of players from three to seven. Players in the Emerging Category are: Ali Usman, Haseebullah, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Huraira, Qasim Akram (captain of Pakistan team in U19 World Cup this year) and Salman Ali Agha.
"I want to congratulate all those who have earned central contracts for the 2022-23 season, especially our four younger players who have received red-ball contracts for the first time as part of our vision and strategy to identify, groom and develop specialists for the traditional and purist format of the game."
"I understand there will be a few disappointed players who have missed out on contracts, but I want to reiterate that we are not limiting and restricting ourselves to these 33 players. As and when required, players from outside the list will be included."
"We have also expanded our category of emerging cricketers from three to seven as it is very important for us to groom those cricketers who have potential to make it to the top level and give an incentive to those players who have excelled in our domestic tournaments," said Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim.
Other features of the central contracts include a 10 per cent increase in match fees across all formats and Increase in match fee for non-playing members from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the overall match fee.
Babar will also be given a captaincy allowance to compensate the team captain for the additional responsibilities that comes with that role. PCB also said that there will be allocation of an amount for current players with the aim to manage and reduce the workload of elite players and to ensure that they are fully fit, ready and fresh whenever they play for Pakistan.
Red And White-Ball Contracts:
Category A - Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Category B (red-ball) and Category C (white-ball) - Hasan Ali
Category C (red-ball) and Category B (white-ball) - Imam-ul-Haq
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
Emerging Contracts: Ali Usman, Haseebullah, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Huraira, Qasim Akram and Salman Ali Agha.