The Pakistan Cricket Board announced transparent 2020-21 contracts for 192 domestic players, which were based strictly on criteria, performance and forward-looking approach.
From the 192 players, 10 have been awarded A Plus category comprising leading performers from the 2019-20 first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and players part of the national squad but without a central or emerging contract.
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, said: “I want to congratulate the 10 players for securing the newly-introduced A Plus category contracts, which is a reward for their efforts and hard 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 but we could only pick a maximum of 10 players in this category. I want 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 want to make Pakistan cricket tough, competitive and performance-based, and this slab-based retainer policy is a reflection of this strategy. I am confident this will induce more passion amongst the players, which, in turn, will not only benefit the players but also Pakistan cricket.”
Category A comprises 38 players, including 10 best performers from the 2019-20 domestic season or the ones who have previously represented Pakistan at the highest-level. Category B includes 47 players who have played T20Is, are amongst the top 10 performers of the National T20 Cup (First XI) 2019-20, had a good first-class season in 2019-20 or have represented Pakistan Shaheens/Emerging since 2019.
Category C includes 71 players who either featured in HBL PSL 2019 and 2020, were amongst the performers of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (First and Second XI) 2019-20 performers, top 10 performers of the Pakistan Cup 2018-19, best batsman/bowler of Patron’s Trophy Grade-II 2018-19 or have represented Pakistan in age-group cricket.