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Amir, Imad decline PCB central contracts

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LAHORE: While Test pacer Mohammad Amir and all-rounder Imad Wasim refused to accept the central contract as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday offered central contract to 191 cricketers for 2021-22 domestic season.

Left-armer Amir is not happy with previous PCB management taking the stance that he will not play for Pakistan until Ehsan Mani-led regime was in place. Though Mani has now gone — replaced by former Test captain Ramiz Raja as new PCB chairman, — Amir’s refusal to accept the contract seems confusing. The 29-year-old pacer in a surprising decision in July 2019 announced retirement from Test cricket after playing 36 matches and then in December 2020 declared that he would not be available for selection in international cricket anymore. He last represented Pakistan in August 2020 when he featured in the T20 International against England at Manchester.

Meanwhile it is learnt that the 32-year-old Imad, who plays for Pakistan only in limited-overs internationals, has already informed the PCB that he is not interested in taking the central contract. The left-arm spinner, who bats in late middle order, last featured in an international game in July this year when Pakistan faced England in a T20 at Manchester.

Therefore, 191 out of 192 players representing six Cricket Associations were offered the contract including Amir. Now after Amir’s ouster, the number of contracted players will come down to 190.

Meanwhile, pacer Wahab Riaz and former Pakistan wicket-keeper/batsman Kamran Akmal have also shown interest in event-based contracts instead of accepting full year contracts.

The name of batsman Umar Akmal is missing, may be because the right-hander did not play the last season due to a ban on him in a disciplinary case. And now playing in the upcoming season, the 31-year-old can claim a place in the list based on his performance.

The six Cricket Associations referred the names of 32 players each from a total of 40 players for the central contract.

The new PCB chairman Ramiz Raja has also increased Rs100,000 monthly remuneration of all the five categories of the contract.

The increase will raise the budget in this account to Rs10.90 million per month.

“After the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Mr Ramiz Raja announced an increase in the retainers of domestic contracts by Rs100,000 across all five categories, the cricket board confirmed the list of 191 players [actually 190 after excluding Amir] who will be offered the enhanced packages for the 157-match six senior men’s events from Sept 15 to March 30,” a PCB press statement stated on Wednesday.

The announcement means 10 players in A+ category will now receive a monthly retainer of Rs250,000 each, followed by Rs185,000 each for the 40 cricketers in Category A, Rs175,000 each for 40 players in Category B, Rs165,000 each for the 64 players in Category C and Rs140,000 each for the 37 players of category D.

“The retainers are in addition to the match fees, daily allowances; share in prize money and PCB-arranged lodging, boarding and travelling the domestic cricketers will receive during the six-and-a-half months of cricket,” the release added.

“As such, a Category A+ player, featuring in all matches, can earn up to Rs5 million, whereas, a Category D player, who shows fitness and form throughout the season, can earn up to Rs3.75m annually.

“Amongst the 191 cricketers who have been offered domestic contracts for 2021-22 include 20 cricketers from the recently-organised CCA two-day tournaments. Out of these 20 cricketers, 11 are from far-flung areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” read the release.

The 20 players to break through the CCA Two-Day tournament include Abdul Hanan (Killa Abdullah), Aftab Ahmed (Loralai), Fahad Hussain (Jaffarabad), Mohammad Idrees (Quetta), Mohammad Javed (Pishin), Sanaullah (Loralai), Syed Zainullah (Pishin) and Tariq Jameel (Loralai) — all from Balochistan.

Central Punjab’s players in the list are Haseeb-ur-Rehman (Lahore), Mohammad Irfan Jr (Sheikhupura), Mohammad Tabriaz (Sialkot) and Mohammad Waheed (Lahore). Three Khyber Pakhtunkhwa players — Mohammad Ibrahim (Swabi), Waqar Ahmad (Lower Dir) and Yasir Khan (Bannu) are also there while Sindh’s Khuzaima Bin Tanveer (Karachi), Mushtaq Ahmed Kalhoro (Sukkur) and Junaid Ilyas (Karachi), plus Asad Raza (Faisalabad) of Northern and Southern Punjab’s Mohammad Shroon Siraj (Sahiwal) complete the tally.

In a continuation of its policy of rewarding last season’s top performers, Kamran Ghulam, the recipient of the PCB Domestic Cricketer of 2020 award, and off-spinner Sajid Khan, a member of the Test side, have been promoted to A+ category from C and A categories, respectively.

Kamran broke the 36-year-old record of the most runs in a first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy tournament when he scored 1,217 in the last season, while his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team-mate Sajid was the most successful bowler with 67 wickets at an average of 25.09.

“A number of leading international cricketers have confirmed to the PCB they will prefer event-based contracts instead of the season contracts,” the PCB release concluded.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2021

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