The Pakistan Cricket Board have announced their annual list of centrally contracted players for the 2019/20 season, reducing the number of contracted cricketers from 33 to 19.
Veteran all-rounders Shoaib Malik – who retired from ODIs after the World Cup – and Mohammad Hafeez have not been handed central contracts. Hafeez remains available for selection in ODIs and T20Is, and Malik has previously stated his desire to play at next year’s T20 World Cup. The board has also trimmed the number of categories from five to three.
“We have significantly increased the financial value of the 2019-20 retainers across each category,” PCB’s 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.”
Premier batsman Babar Azam, who is currently the No.1-ranked T20I batsman, is part of the top bracket, alongside captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and leg-spinner Yasir Shah. Azhar Ali has been demoted from A to B, while Mohammad Amir and Fakhar Zaman, who were part of the A and B categories respectively, have been relegated to Category C.
Category A – Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah
Category B – Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz
Category C – Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and Usman Shinwari
No contract – Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Bilal Asif, Saad Ali, Mir Hamza, Umaid Asif, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Nawaz, Rumman Raees, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Rahat Ali, Usman Salahuddin
“The PCB have set high standards and targets in its strategic plan for the upcoming season,” Khan added. “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.”