Mohammad Hafeez to be offered new central contract by PCB

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Senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez will be offered a new central contract in a higher category after he refused to accept a short-term contract some months back from the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The 40-year-old was dropped from the list of centrally contracted players last year in May along with Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Amir but after he performed well the PCB was forced to offer him a short-term contract earlier this year.

However, Hafeez didn’t accept the offer as he was not happy at being offered a spot in category C.

According to a reliable PCB source, Hafeez is the only senior player who will be given the new central contract from July 1 while chances of other seniors like Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Haris Sohail getting contracts is very slim.

“The cricket committee of the PCB will be meeting with the head coach, coaches and captain of the national team when it returns from Zimbabwe after which the chief selector will sit down with the management and PCB CEO and finalize the list of players to be given the new central contracts,” the source said.

The existing contracts end in June and the source said that due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation the board is also considering giving players some financial rewards in their contracts for spending long periods in the bio-secure bubbles at home and on away tours.

“Hafeez is likely to be offered a new contract in an enhanced category while senior batsman and former captain, Azhar Ali is likely to be demoted from category A to B as he is now playing just one format,” he added.

The source said that the PCB was considering giving some of the consistent performers like Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf new enhanced contracts from July, while some players like Usman Shinwari, Iftikhar Ahmed etc may lose their contracts in the new list.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan who has been Pakistan’s leading batsman in all formats in recent times is likely to be retained in category A.

“Rizwan was initially named in category B of the contracts last year but earlier this year the board gave him a promotion because of his form and he will be retained in category A,” he said.

In-form batsman Fawad Alam, who has scored three centuries since his comeback to the Pakistan team last year in July, was also not part of the central contracts for 2020/21 but was later included in category C at same time when Rizwan was given the promotion.

“Fawad will get a promotion to category B in new contracts because of his superb performances as will opener Fakhar Zaman who is also presently in category C.”

In May last year, the PCB had announced central contracts in three categories for 18 players, while three cricketers — Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain — were named in emerging players category.

The PCB pays players monthly retainers ranging from 1.1 million to Rs 500,000 besides their match fees and bonuses. Players who don’t get central contracts are paid match fees and bonuses for their appearances but don’t get the monthly retainers.

The source said the PCB might also consider enhancing match fees of those players who are now only playing Test matches like Azhar, Fawad, Shan Masood, Mohammad Abbas etc.

The PCB last year had also announced a comprehensive pay structure for domestic players which is as below.

The 2020-21 and enhanced monthly retainer structure is: Category A+ = 10 players, PKR 150,000 per month (66k INR)

Category A = 38 players, PKR 85,000 per month (37K INR)
Category B = 48 players, PKR 75,000 per month (33k INR)
Category C = 72 players, PKR 65,000 per month (28k INR)
Category D = 24 players, PKR 40,000 per month (17.5k INR).

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