There was no place for Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the Pakistan Cricket Board’s central contracts for the 2019-20 season. However, PCB clarified that both Malik and Hafeez, who were placed in Category A and B respectively last season, will be available for selection for future assignments.
Announcing the news on Thursday, the board reduced the list of players who are centrally contracted from 33 last cycle to 19 this year, also reducing the number of categories from five to three. Out of six players who were given Category A contracts, only Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah retained their spots in the top group while Azhar Ali was demoted the B category.
Malik announced his retirement from one-day international cricket last month after his team bowed out of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in July. “I had planned this for a few years to retire on the last Pakistan World Cup match. I’m sad that I’ll be leaving a format of cricket that I loved but happy that I’ll have more time to spend with my family. This will also allow me to focus on Twenty20 cricket,” he said after his team’s last World Cup game against Bangladesh.
The notable promotions are Shaheen Afridi, who was placed in the E group last season, finding a place in Category B. Afridi was brilliant in Pakistan’s World Cup campaign, in which he took 16 wickets in five games, averaging 14.62 with the ball.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir, who with 17 scalps to his name was Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in the 50-over tournament, announced his retirement from the red-ball format of the game last month and was given the Category C contract for this season.
Full list of contracts: Category A: Babar Azam, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Yasir Shah. Category B: Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz. Category C: Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and Usman Shinwari