Younis and Afridi promoted to top grade

Younis Khan, the Pakistan vice-captain, and Shahid Afridi, the allrounder, have been elevated to the top category, according to new central contracts announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Meanwhile, Danish Kaneria, the legspinner, and Kamran Akmal, the wicketkeeper have been promoted from grade three to grade two. However, the board has not made any monetary increase in the new contracts.

The central contracts in Pakistan cricket are divided into three pay categories. The grade one players get a monthly retainer of Rs 200,000, the grade two players Rs 125,000 and those in grade three Rs 75,000. The monthly retainers are beside the match and tour fees paid to the players.

Meanwhile, The News, the Karachi-based daily, reported that the board violated its own performance criteria laid down in the contracts system when it promoted Akmal to grade two although he has still not accumulated the necessary 150 points required for that to happen. Akmal has at present 104 points to his credit.

Central contracted players:

Category `A': Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi.

Category `B': Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaneria, Kamran Akmal.

Category `C': Asim Kamal, Salman Butt, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Shabbir Ahmed, Yasir Hameed, Arshad Khan, Imran Farhat, Bazid Khan.

Pakistan `A' and Juniors: Misbah-ul-Haq, Hasan Raza, Faisal Iqbal, Mohammad Asif, Yasir Arafat, Najaf Shah, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Arshad, Imran Tahir, Zulqarnain Haider, Ashar Zaidi, Taufiq Umar, Mohammad Khalil