Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) threw up a few surprises while releasing the new list of central contracts today with young pacer Junaid Khan bracketed in category `A` while senior batsman Younis Khan relegated to group `B`.
Only five players including skipper Misbah ul Haq, Muhammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and left-arm pacer Junaid got `A` level deals in a list of 31 contracted players. The top category will carry a monthly retainer of around 400,000 Pakistan Rupees as the board also announced encouraging pay hikes and other incentives for the players.
The board did not announce the exact monthly salaries for each category neither the basis on which the contracts have been given to so many players and Younis`s demotion from `A` to `B` also went unanswered. Although Younis has not been picked to play one-day internationals since March, 2013 by the selectors and has just played Test matches since than but Afridi has also stuck to ODIs and T20 matches since 2010.
Younis, who retired from T20 internationals in 2009, is placed in his category with Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and pace bowler Umar Gul.
The board instead of reducing the number of contracted players as it had indicated earlier introduced a new category `D` in which 16 players were given contracts for the year.
The board has delayed announcing the list of contracted players for this year by atleast five months but chief selector and national team manager, Moin Khan said the contracts would be effective from January 1.
Moin said the board had announced number of financial incentives and pay hikes for the players to encourage them. He said the central contract monthly fees had been enhanced by 25 per cent in all categories and the Test match fees also increased by 25 per cent. "The players will also get a 10 per cent enhancement in their one-day international match fees while their share of the logo fee has also been revised upward by 15 per cent, while some of the individual performance incentives have also been made more competitive", Moin said.
Moin added the win bonus for series wins against the top three ICC ranked teams as well as India has also been increased from 200 per cent to 250 per cent.
"We have taken into consideration all factors fitness and performances before deciding upon the players who should be given contracts for 2014 and the list includes some promising youngsters," he added. The category `C` players are Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Adnan Akmal, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed and spinner Abdul Rehman.
The newly introduced category `D` contracts have been given to 16 players including Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Bilawal Bhatti, Sharjeel Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Fawad Alam, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Raza Hasan, Umar Amin, Harris Sohail, Rahat Ali, Shaan Masood, Mohammad Talha and Anwar Ali.