The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday introduced separate red-ball and white-ball central contracts for its players with increased retainers but would discourage its elite players from competing in foreign leagues.

The PCB would offer players compensation for denying offers of participation from those leagues.

The PCB said the Board of Governors, in a meeting, approved an annual budget of PKR 15 billion for fiscal year 2022-23, with 78 percent of its budget allocated for cricket activities. “As part of its strategy to incentivise, reward and encourage its high-performing elite cricketers, as well as to narrow the gap in salaries compared to players of other countries, the BoG has approved changes in the men’s central contracts structure,” the PCB said in a statement.

From July 1, separate red and white-ball contracts will be given with increased retainers. The number of centrally contracted players has been increased from 20 to 33.

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The Board announced a 10 per cent increase in match fees across formats and also an increase in match fee for non-playing members from 50 percent to 70 percent of the overall match fee. A captaincy allowance has also been introduced to compensate the team leader for the additional responsibilities that come with that role.

 

‘Don’t want players tired or burnt out’

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja also announced at a media conference in Lahore that the Board had set up a special fund for current players who get offers for playing in foreign leagues. “We want to discourage our elite players from signing up for additional off-season events. We feel the players are better off not going to these leagues. We will pay them 50 to 60 percent of the contract amount they are offered where required. This is a very important season for us; we don't want our players to be tired or burnt out. We want them to be ready and fresh to go for national duties.”

‘We feel the players are better off not going to these leagues. We will pay them 50 to 60 percent of the contract amount they are offered where required. This is a very important season for us; we don't want our players to be tired or burnt out. We want them to be ready and fresh to go for national duties.’ - PCB chairman Ramiz Raja

Ramiz also confirmed a 15 percent increase in retainers of women's central contracts across all categories. The pool of women's centrally contracted players may be increased from 20 players to up to 25 players.

“Since September 2021, the Pakistan men's cricket team has achieved an impressive 75 percent success rate across all formats, which is the highest amongst all the Test playing nations. This has contributed to Pakistan improving its rankings, which now stands at fifth in Tests (up by one), third in ODIs (up by three and the highest since January 2017) and third in T20Is (up by one),” Ramiz said.

Explaining the thought-process behind splitting red and white-ball contracts, Raja said this has been done to recognise the importance of white-ball cricket in the growth and development of the game.

“We have four international events in the next 16 months, including two World Cups. This recognition of offering contracts to white-ball specialists will help us to eventually develop two separate squads, which could simultaneously be engaged in white and red-ball cricket. This will also allow us to have a bigger spread of talent to showcase to the world.”

Ramiz made it clear that Pakistan was also working on the lines of creating a pool of talent where it can field simultaneous red and white-ball squads like India and England for international events and series. He said a Pakistan Cricket Foundation had been created to support retired cricketers, match officials, scorers and ground staff facing severe financial hardships.