LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday dropped wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal and all-rounder Shoaib Malik from its central contract list of 31 players released for 2014 and demoted veteran batsman Younus Khan. Apart from Malik and Kamran, Imran Farhat, Aizaz Cheema and Taufiq Umar are also left out of the pool of contracted players this year. Fast bowler Junaid Khan has been promoted from category B to A while Umar Akmal and Umar Gul have been retained in category B. Ahmad Shahzad, who played three Test matches against Sri Lanka in UAE earlier this year and scored a century in the World T20, was upgraded to B from C last year and he remains in that category.
“Centrally contracted players will receive a 25 percent increase in their monthly retainers and higher match fees,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said after the board awarded deals to the players. Younus, a veteran of 89 Tests and 253 ODIs, has not played a Twenty20 international since 2010 and has not been selected for a one-day international since March 2013 and since then has been a Test specialist. He earned a category A contract last year and was among the fittest players in the recently conceded summer camp but found himself demoted.
The dropping of Kamran and Malik does not come as a surprise following their dismal performances at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in April. The players had been waiting for the announcement since January when their 2013 contracts expired. Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who was sidelined for nearly six months due to a hip injury, has been slotted in the lowest category. Irfan’s injury prone history is the reason he has been included in the lowest category. Irfan is hopeful of playing limited-overs matches later this year but has ruled out appearing in Tests. He is optimistic of playing a big part in the World Cup next year. The PCB official said the board had enhanced the monthly fees by 25 percent at all levels and had also increased Test match fees by the same amount. “We have also increased the fees for one-day internationals by 10 percent while the players’ share of the logo fee has also been revised upward by 15 percent. Some of the individual performance incentives have also been made more competitive,” the spokesman said.
The PCB had linked awarding the contracts to match performance and fitness. “The PCB took three factors into consideration while finalising the list. These were: form and performance, fitness level and future potential.” He added the board had also increased incentives for the team including win bonuses. “The payout for a series win against the three teams at the top of the International Cricket Council Rankings - Australia, South Africa and England as well as India - has been increased from 200 per cent to 250 percent,” he said. The PCB had planned to reduce the number of central contacts to 22, but it was increased to 31. Last year, 30 contracts were handed out and for 2014, the idea was to downsize and retain only those who are likely to play throughout the year.
Central Contracts 2014:
Category A (Rs 449,218 per month): Misbahul Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Junaid Khan.
Category B (Rs.314,452 per month): Younus Khan, Ahmad Shahzad, Umar Akmal and Umar Gul.
Category C (Rs.179,687 per month): Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Adnan Akmal, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed and Abdul Rehman.
Category D (Rs.89,843 per month): Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Bilawal Bhatti, Sharjeel Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Fawad Alam, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Raza Hasan, Umar Amin, Haris Sohail, Rahat Ali, Shaan Masood, Mohammad Talha and Anwar Ali.
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