Pakistan news June 11, 2014

Younis Khan pushed up to category A contract

Younis Khan has been bumped up to Pakistan's top category of central contracts, after the PCB amended the criteria by which players are allotted contracts. Younis had been slotted into category B when the contracts were announced last week, a move that was heavily criticised across the country.

The PCB released a list of 31 contracted players, and while Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan were in the top bracket, Younis - a veteran of 89 Tests and 253 ODIs - was placed alongside Umar Akmal, Umar Gul and Ahmed Shehzad in category B.

It was reported that Younis was upset and refused to sign the contract. PCB chairman Najam Sethi looked to "rectify the situation".

"According to the new clause to be inserted into the rules, any player who has played over 300 matches across the three formats of the game, and has captained in all three formats will be placed in category A," Sethi was quoted as saying in a PCB release. "The committee comprising Zakir Khan, Moin Khan and Mohammad Akram did a good job in framing the rules [for giving out contracts], but it did not sufficiently address all issues, especially fitness and past performance, whereby a class player like Younis Khan was a fitting candidate for category A."

According to the earlier policy, those who play all the three formats were considered for the top category. However, whether the policy was being strictly implemented was questionable, as category A player Shahid Afridi had retired from Tests in 2010 and has been playing only limited-overs cricket. Even Mohammad Hafeez, who was dropped from the Test side last year was given the top category.

Younis, 36, a regular in the Test team, is eying the 2015 World Cup, though he last played an ODI in March 2013. He retired from T20 cricket after leading the side to victory in the World T20 in 2009.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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