The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced the much-awaited central contracts, awarding a massive 202% hike in the monthly retainer of Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan.
After the increase, the trio — roped in category A — is expected to receive Rs4.5 million, a more than four-fold increase over the previous year.
The deal comes after four months of deadlock between the PCB and players, and for the first time will see them get a share of the country’s payout from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“PCB has successfully negotiated a three-year central contact deal with its senior players that will run from July 1 2023 to June 30, 2026 in which 25 cricketers will be offered a deal,” the board said in a statement.
According to the agreement, players are divided into four categories with skipper Babar, Rizwan and Afridi in the top flight.
Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan are placed in category B with a reported salary of Rs3 million, while Imad Wasim and Abdullah Shafique are in category C on Rs1.5 million.
Category D players — Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Saud Shakeel, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan — will be on Rs750,000 a month.
The PCB said player match fees will also be hiked by 50% for Tests, 25% for one-day internationals and 12.5% for Twenty20 matches.
In a departure from the previous year, red-ball and white-ball national contracts have been amalgamated.
Furthermore, players have been granted the liberty to participate in two foreign leagues each season while the financial model for the three-year contract will be locked, with player performance reviews scheduled every 12 months.