Lahore [Pakistan], June 30 (ANI): Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have been slotted in Category A of both the newly-announced white-ball as well as red-ball contracts by the Pakistan Cricket Board, PCB announced on Thursday.
The contract will come into effect from Friday, July 1.
The PCB has introduced separate red and white-ball contracts, while four more players have been added to the Emerging Category. This means a total of 33 players, 13 more than the previous season, have received contracts for the next 12 months.
Pakistan's all-format captain Babar Azam, along with Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi have been awarded both red and white-ball contracts.
The PCB has increased the number of centrally contracted players from last year's list of 20 to 33 this year. In the exclusive white-ball contracts list, Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan were placed in Category A.
Fawad Alam and Nauman Ali have been retained in Category B and C, respectively, whereas Abid Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shan Masood and Yasir Shah have been handed Category D contracts.
Eleven limited-over specialists have been awarded white-ball contracts.
Chief Selector Muhammad Wasim stated in an official release, "I want to congratulate all those who have earned central contracts for the 2022-23 season, especially our four younger players who have received red-ball contracts for the first time as part of our vision and strategy to identify, groom and develop specialists for the traditional and purest format of the game."
"I understand there will be a few disappointed players who have missed out on contracts, but I want to reiterate that we are not limiting and restricting ourselves to these 33 players. As and when required, players from outside the list will be included," he added.
"We have also expanded our category of emerging cricketers from three to seven as it is very important for us to groom those cricketers who have potential to make it to the top level and give an incentive to those players who have excelled in our domestic tournaments," said Wasim.
Red and White-Ball Contracts (5): Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi (all Category A), Hasan Ali (red-ball Category B, white-ball Category C) and Imam-ul-Haq (red-ball Category C, white-ball Category B).
Ali Usman, Haseebullah, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Huraira, Qasim Akram and Salman Ali Agha. (ANI)