192 Pakistan cricketers yet to be paid during domestic season

Players have not been paid their monthly retainers or even match fees, despite the season having started on August 30

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
A gigantic Pakistani flag engulfs one of the stands, Pakistan v World XI, 3rd T20I, Independence Cup 2017, Lahore, September 15, 2017

The delay in payments is understood to be a result of the volume of cricket this season at home  •  AFP

Nearly 200 of Pakistan's domestic cricketers are still awaiting payments for participating in a domestic season that is less than a month from its conclusion. ESPNcricinfo understands that 192 players who have taken part in a number of domestic tournaments - including the National T20 Cup and the Quaid-e-Azam trophy - have not been paid their monthly retainers or even match fees, despite the season having started on August 30. Thus far, players have only been paid their daily expenses.
Several players as well as sources within the PCB confirmed a delay in the distribution of the payments, which is understood to be a result of the volume of cricket this season at home; that includes a brand new tournament in the Pakistan Junior League which diverted much administrative energy towards its staging.
The delay is also said to be partly because of administrative issues arising from the approval by the PCB's Board of Governors of an increment in its domestic players' monthly retainers and match fees. Nevertheless, for an administration headed by a former cricketer in Ramiz Raja, the excessive delay has caused unnecessary hardships for a vast majority of domestic cricketers who rely solely on cricket to make a living. This delay in payment also comes at a time in which the Pakistan economy is in deep turmoil, the value of the rupee plummeting and soaring inflation that, in November, was above 20%.
In 2019, the PCB revamped the domestic structure, abolishing traditional regional and department teams and narrowing down the national pipeline into six associations representing all six provinces in the country. Before that, a significant amount of domestic cricketers were on contracts with departments they played for such as Sui Gas Northern Pipelines (SNGPL) or Habib Bank (HBL). The remaining regional players were paid by the PCB. In the new model, the entire cost of close to Rs 2 billion is borne by the PCB.
Players' domestic contacts normally span August to July but PCB only awarded the contracts mid-season in November this year. And players, ESPNcricinfo understands, only received their contracts in the first week of December after the completion of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Nearly 80% of players have signed the contracts and returned them and are hoping to get paid this month
All 33 centrally contracted national players have been paid their retainers regularly, though match fees are paid in blocks after the series or tournament they participate in. Earlier this year, national cricketers did push back against the standard practice of the PCB to offer contracts and push players to sign it immediately, without consultation. A group of players did reach out to their own lawyers for advice before signing the contracts just before the tour to Netherlands. But, after extensive discussions, the PCB agreed to amend several clauses and contracts were signed.
Historically, the PCB hasn't formally negotiated with players on contracts, and players have rarely disputed any clauses, beyond ensuring satisfactory annual pay rises. But the current crop of players is increasingly aware of their commercial value and how that should be represented in a contract. Similarly, domestic contracts are usually signed by players without much discussion.
Several players confirmed that the PCB has promised it will start distributing the National T20 Cup match fee this week, followed by the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. However, retainer payments will only be cleared by next month.
The PCB had offered players contacts across five categories. Fifteen players will be in category A+, 35 in category A, 48 in category B, 70 in category C and 24 in category D. As per the new financial model, a player who played in the QeA Trophy receives a match fee of PKR 100,000. Those playing the white-ball tournaments - the Pakistan Cup and the National T20 - now earn PKR 60,000 per game. The non-playing members of a squad get PKR 40,000 and PKR 20,000 per match in red and white-ball cricket respectively.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent