RAWALPINDI: Chief Selector Mohammad Wasim Thursday announced men’s central contract lists for 2022-23, giving Babar Azam, Hasan Ali, Imamul Haq, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Afridi both red and white-ball contracts.
The contract will come into effect from Friday, 1 July.
For the first time, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has introduced separate red and white-ball contracts, while four more players have been added to the Emerging Category. This means a total of 33 players, 13 more than the previous season, have received contracts for the next 12 months.
Amongst the 10 players who have received red-ball contracts, Azhar Ali has been promoted to Category A, Abdullah Shafique, Naseem Shah have been placed in Category C for the first time along with Saud Shakeel, who has been awarded Category D.
Fawad Alam and Nauman Ali have been retained in Category B and C, respectively, whereas Abid Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah have been handed Category D contracts.
The inclusion of Sarfaraz Ahmed in the central contracts has raised eyebrows with many questioning the logic behind this move while the former skipper is not performing.
Eleven limited-over specialists have been awarded white-ball contracts.
Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan, who were in Category B in 2021-22, have been awarded Category A contracts, while Haris Rauf has been promoted to Category B. Mohammad Nawaz has been retained in Category C.
Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir have been promoted from Emerging to Category D where they are joined by first-timers Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Wasim Jnr and Zahid Mehmood.
In the Emerging Category, the PCB has increased the number of players from three to seven as part of its strategy to “encourage, develop and incentivize” up-and-coming domestic performers.
Players in the Emerging Category are: Ali Usman, Haseebullah, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Huraira, Qasim Akram and Salman Ali Agha.
Defending his decision to give the contract to Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim said Mohammad Rizwan and Sarfraz Ahmed are the best wicket keepers in Test cricket and Mohammad Haris is included in the Emerging Category for grooming.
When asked whether cricketers in the shorter format can not play in Test, the chief selector said it is not that white ball cannot play red contract with central contract
"The best players in the top order are seen in the national team."
He said that work is being done on Sajid Khan's bowling action and hoped that Yasir Shah will perform in the upcoming Sri Lanka series.
“I understand there will be a few disappointed players who have missed out on contracts, but I want to reiterate that we are not limiting and restricting ourselves to these 33 players. As and when required, players from outside the list will be included,” Wasim said.
“We have also expanded our category of emerging cricketers from three to seven as it is very important for us to groom those cricketers who have potential to make it to the top level and give an incentive to those players who have excelled in our domestic tournaments.”
Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi (all Category A), Hasan Ali (red-ball Category B, white-ball Category C) and Imam-ul-Haq (red-ball Category C, white-ball Category B)
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