Senior players like Muhammed Hafeez and Haris Sohail were left out of a list of 20 Pakistan players who were awarded central contracts by the country's cricket board with a 25 per cent hike in annual retainership. (More Cricket News)
Captain and top batsman Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi were placed in the highest bracket of Category A.
The board, however, did not disclose the exact amounts to be paid to the players.
Those missing out included Hafeez, who was offered a mid year contract early this year, Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Muhammad Abbas, Imad Wasim and Shan Masood.
Seniors like Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik still remain out of the list like last year.
Interestingly the PCB has also dropped young batsman, Haider Ali and fast bowler Naseem Shah from the contracts list in the emerging category.
The PCB announced an across-the-board 25 per cent increase in the monthly retainers for all four categories.
The board said it was announcing an enhanced and performance-based central contract list for 2021-22 for 20 elite men cricketers in which match fee across all formats has also been equalised.
A Board official explained that previously, match fees of players differed in different categories in all formats based on seniority.
"But now that has been changed. Increases have been made in match fees of B, C and emerging categories in Test, ODI and T20 formats so that now all players get the same fees," the Board stated.
The 12-month contracts will run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
The wide ranging increases announced for the contracted players include:
In Category A there would be no increase in Test, ODI and T20I match fee, while in Category B Test match fee has been increased by 15 per cent, ODI match fee increased by 20 per cent and T20I match fee increased by 25 per cent.
In category C, the board has announced a 34 per cent increase in Test match fee, 50 per cent increase in ODI match fee, and 67 per cent increase in T20I match fee.
The remuneration in Emerging Category has been increased by 15 per cent, with 34 per cent increase in Test match fee, 50 per cent increase in ODI match fee, 67 per cent increase in T20I match fee.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan made it clear that selecting 20 players from a big pool of quality cricketers is always a challenging task.
"In the new list, we have seen eight new players emerge who have now gained central contracts. Due to the competitive nature of the central contract system nine players who had contracts in 2020-21 have sadly missed out on this occasion," he said.
"The door remains firmly open for these players and they will continue to remain in the plans of the selectors.
"The equalisation of match fees means that all players who walk out together to represent Pakistan will receive the same match fees irrespective of which category they are in, or whether they have a central contract or not," he said.
The board said the list was finalised by a panel that comprised Director – International Cricket, Zakir Khan, chief selector Muhammad Wasim and Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan, who also consulted head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam as part of the process.
Central Contracts list for 2021/22.
Category A – Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi
Category B – Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Fawad Alam, Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah
Category C – Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali and Sarfaraz Ahmed
Emerging Category – Imran Butt, Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir.