The PCB has awarded central contracts to 17 women cricketers for the year 2012, reducing the number of signings from last year's pool of 19. Mariam Hassan Shah, Sania Iqbal Khan and Asmavia Iqbal are the new players to earn the 12-month contract for the first time while 2011 contract holders Kainat Imtiaz, Faryal Awan, Areeb Shamaim and Masooma Junaid have missed out this year.
Seam bowler Qanita Jalil, who was in category B last year, has been promoted to category A, while Sania Iqbal, who missed out on a contract last year after sustaining an injury during the Asian Games, was included in category C.
Elizebath Khan and Masooma Junaid, who have been selected for the upcoming tour of Ireland and England, are the two notable exclusions from the list.
Pakistan's next assignment starts from August 18 in Ireland, where the women cricketers will participate in a tri-nation series involving the hosts and Bangladesh. The team, thereafter, will play 7 Twenty20 matches in England against various teams (including England women, England Under-19 women and West Indies women).
"We have picked up the best possible 17 women cricketers for the contracts," Ayesha Ashar, PCB women wing's manager, told ESPNcricinfo. "Those who are left out shouldn't be discouraged and should try to win back the top contact by performing well. Contracts are meant to reward players who are consistent and contributing significantly at domestic and internationally."
The PCB in 2011, initiated an unprecedented move to sign women cricketers, giving an opportunity to the women to play full-time cricket in a bid to boost the national team's performance at major tournaments.
The list of players awarded contracts:
Category A: Sana Mir, Javeria Wadood, Nain Abidi, Bismah Maroof, Qanita Jalil, Sadia Yousaf
Category B: Nida Dar, Asmavia Iqbal, Marina Iqbal, Batool Fatima, Rabiya Shah
Category C: Mariam Hassan Shah, Sana Gulzar, Sidra Ameen, Sania Iqbal Khan, Nahida Khan, Namra Imran