The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is introducing separate central contracts for both red and white-ball cricket, respectively, for the first time in history. However, the PCB would discourage its elite players from competing in foreign leagues, for which it is ready to pay them compensatory money.

The PCB said that the Board of Governors meeting has approved an annual budget of 15 billion rupees for the fiscal year 2022-23 with 78 percent allocated for cricket activities.

“As part of its strategy to incentivize, 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 increased from 20 to 33.

The Board announced a 10 percent increase in match fees across formats and also an increase in match fees 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.

PCB Chairman, Ramiz Raja also announced at a media conference in Lahore that the Board has also 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.”

Ramiz also confirmed a 15 percent increase in retainers of women’s central contracts across all categories. In addition to this, 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),” Raja said.

Explaining the thought process behind splitting red and white-ball contracts, Raja said this has been done to recognize 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.”

The former captain also made it clear that Pakistan was also working on the lines of creating a pool of talent where they can field simultaneous red and white ball squads like India and England for international events/series.

He also said a Pakistan Cricket Foundation has been created to support retired cricketers, match officials, scorers and ground staff facing severe financial hardships.

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