192 players awarded on performance-based domestic contracts: Nadeem Khan
KARACHI: Nadeem Khan, the PCB’s High-Performance Director, declared on Monday that the contracts awarded to 192 players in different categories for the imminent domestic season will go far in eliminating injustice.
The Pakistan Cricket Board Monday announced transparent 2020-21 contracts for 192 domestic players, which were based carefully on criteria, performance, and forward-looking methodology. From the 192 players, 10 have been awarded A Plus category involving leading performers from the 2019-20 five star Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and players part of the national crew yet without a central or emerging agreement.
Which players are selected
These players are Bilal Asif (Central Punjab), Fahim Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Imran Butt (Balochistan), Imran Khan Snr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Kashif Bhatti (Balochistan), Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Nauman Ali (Northern), Sohail Khan (Sindh) and Zafar Gohar (Central Punjab).
Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan men’s national team head coach and chief selector, who selected players for the A Plus category, stated: “I need to congratulate the 10 players for securing the newly-introduced A Plus category contracts, which is a reward for their efforts and difficult work in the 2019-20 season that either earned them recognition in domestic cricket or places in the Pakistan men’s national team. I accept there will be a few players who will feel hard done however we could just pick a limit of 10 players in this category. I need to assure every high-performing player that he will remain available for selection in the side and depending on how he performs in the 2020-21 season, will be in line for an increment next year. We need to make Pakistan cricket extreme, competitive, and performance-based, and this section based retainer strategy is a reflection of this strategy. I am confident this will induce more enthusiasm among the players, which, thus, won’t just benefit the players yet additionally Pakistan cricket.”
Addressing a hurriedly-called media conference at the National Stadium, Nadeem — flanked by general manager domestic cricket, Junaid Zia — observed the primary spotlight this season will be on white-ball cricket.
National T20 Cup and the Pakistan Cup on a double league system
“Our prime objective to give most extreme practice in the T20 and 50-over arrangements keeping as a primary concern the consecutive T20 World Cups (in India and Australia) over the next two years and the ICC 50-over World Cup [hosted by India] in 2023,” Nadeem said. “That is why we have decided to stage the National T20 Cup and the Pakistan Cup on a double league system so as to give our cricketers more opportunities to showcase themselves.”
The PCB official further said that upwards of 44 matches of the domestic competitions would be televised live. “It is essentially because of the recent $200 million deal the Pakistan Cricket Board signed with Pakistan Television. The record number [of games to be telecast] is a milestone because this had never happened previously.”
Nadeem added another salient feature in the coming months would be the observation of the head coach of each team by the National High-Performance Center.
Both [national team’s head coach] Misbah-ul-Haq and [bowling coach] Waqar Younis
“In opposition to what pundits state, we are wanting to engage Saqlain Mushtaq [head of international player development] and Grant Bradburn [head of high-performance coaching] as observers to screen closely the performance of the competing teams as well as how the head coach of each side is interacting with their players and how they plan out strategies,” he revealed. “Both [national team’s head coach] Misbah-ul-Haq and [bowling coach] Waqar Younis are already in Multan to oversee the National T20 Cup.
“This novel step is being initiated to inculcate a culture of lucidity between all stakeholders because previously hole existed between the coaches and the high-performance center. Overall, the PCB’s motive is to invest in domestic cricket.”
Commenting on the newly-inducted contracts, Nadeem stressed that the criteria have been altered fundamentally to prevent the feeling of heartburn among the players. “That is the reason have set up new criteria for the players by giving them performance-based contracts by moving from the fixed slap retainer structure to a category-based retainer structure.
“I think it is reasonable for leading and experienced players to be treated and paid differently to a newcomer. This is likewise a consistent system of how we offer central contracts to our elite cricketers.
“Through this model, we have likewise ensured we retain and protect our age-bunch cricketers, who in the past have dropped out either due to non-selection or non-recognition. There are eight cricketers who played in the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier in the year and 11 Emerging/Shaheen players who will presently remain part of the system and will get their opportunities to improve and move in an upward direction.
“Moreover, from these 192 contracted players, 146 are those who have no positions while 24 had authoritative employments. This way the board is taking care of the wellbeing of talented and high-performing cricketers and remains on target to presenting professionalism in cricket, which is the best way to achieve excellence.”
Junaid, meanwhile, pointed out that scheduling the season in wake of the (Covid-19) pandemic was no easy undertaking. “Other countries are as yet battling to design their domestic season due to the Covid-19 circumstance yet we have already chalked out the schedule of the 2020-21 season with venues and dates finalized for all the national tournaments.”
The breakup of the 192 contracts announced on Monday has 10 players in the A-Plus category (who will get a monthly retainer of Rs150,000) including leading performers from the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy First XI event and the players part of the national crew yet without a central or emerging agreement.
Category A (monthly retainer Rs 85,000) has 38 players, including 10 best performers from the last season or the ones who have previously represented Pakistan at the highest level. Category B (monthly retainer Rs75,000) includes 47 players who have played T20 Internationals, are among the best 10 performers from last season’s First XI National T20 Cup, had a decent top-notch season in 2019-20, or have represented Pakistan Shaheens/Emerging since 2019.
Top 10 performers of the 2018-19 Pakistan Cup
Category C (monthly retainer Rs 65,000) includes 71 players who either featured in the Pakistan Super League editions of 2019 and 2020, were among the performers of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (both First and Second XIs) 2019-20 performers, top 10 performers of the 2018-19 Pakistan Cup, best batsman/bowler of the 2018-19 Patron’s Trophy Grade-II tournament or have represented Pakistan in age-bunch cricket.
Category D (monthly retainer Rs40,000) has 26 players who are all aspects of the six cricket affiliation sides. Among the beneficiaries of this scheme are Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Bilal Asif, Imran Khan, and Sohail Khan, who have been awarded A Plus contracts, while a large group of ex-internationals and disposes of have been given A Category contracts.