The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to significantly reduce the number of players who will be given the central contracts later this month. The PCB last year in August had given 12-month central contracts to 33 players in different categories and interestingly only 10 to 12 players in the existing list have played for Pakistan.
"For example batsmen Saad Ali, Rahat Ali Rumman Raees, Sahabzada Farhan, Umaid Asif, Talat Hussain, Mir Hamza and Usman Salahuddin hardly played a few games here and there for the national team in different formats," one source in the PCB pointed out. The PCB has hence decided to reduce the number of players to 15 or 20 who will get the central contracts.
"The idea is that central contracts should be given as incentives to players and should be performance-based contracts," the source said. He said that although the number of players will be reduced in the new central contracts list, the monthly retainers will be enhanced. Recently, the PCB also reduced the number of national women players given central contracts from 15 to 10 but increased their monthly salaries and match fees.
The source said that under the revamped domestic cricket system, the board was planning to give domestic central contracts to players who will be picked for the provincial teams for first-class cricket and also play in other formats for their regional outfits.
"Each province will have 34 contracted players and if you take his monthly retainer, match fees, win bonuses into account a top player should earn an annual income of around 2 to 2.5 million rupees from just playing in domestic cricket," the source added. He made it clear that the players who get Pakistan central contracts can play for their provinces in domestic cricket but will not get the domestic contracts.
"Initially the PCB plans to directly select the provincial squads and also provide funds for domestic cricket before they become self-sufficient." The PCB, on the directives of the prime minister Imran Khan, who is patron-in-chief of the board, has announced they are revamping the domestic structure from this season with only six provinces to compete in the first class tournament, and departments and institutions would have no more role to play in domestic cricket.