Pakistan news May 14, 2013

Afridi, Younis retain top contracts

The PCB has has announced 30 central contracts for 2013, with a 15% increment in the monthly retainership fee. Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan, who have been dropped from the ODI team, have been retained in the top A category while fast-bowler Umar Gul, who plays all three formats, has been dropped from A to B. Kamran Akmal, who wasn't considered for a central contract last year, has been awarded a Category C contract this time.

The PCB, for the second straight year, has increased the retainership incomes, with the Test match fees across all categories up by Rs. 55,000. "The 2013 Central Contracts have raised the Retainership fee by 15 per cent," the PCB said in a statement. "In the 2012 Central Contract, the same had been increased by 25%. It may be noted that the increase in player fees in 2012 made after 3 years as the last increases were made in 2009. Thus in the last two years a total increase of more than 40 % has been made."

The raise this year was a result of lengthy negotiations between players and the PCB, as most of the senior players were unhappy with the retainers offered. Players have been deprived of the ICC tournaments appearance fee by the PCB, and they were also barred from playing the 2012 Bangladesh Cricket League. Last year, a lack of planning meant Umar Akmal, Afridi and Saeed Ajmal failed to fulfill their commitment with their respective Big Bash League franchises.

A senior player, on the condition of anonymity, told ESPNcricinfo last month that players were underpaid compared to other teams around the world. "Whatever the case is, we are missing IPL and last year players even missed out on the BPL," said the player. "In a country where cricketers are playing the game as their full-time livelihood, they should be treated with care. We need serious deliberation on this matter with the PCB."

The players were without contracts since December 31, 2012. They were handed their current contracts on Monday hours before Pakistan's 15-man squad departed for Scotland ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy. In a press release, the PCB listed 30 names across four categories "A, B, C and stipends," with five men, including Afridi, handed the top contract. Nine players - who failed to find themselves in three major categories - were slated into the stipend category.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here

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