Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
Intikhab Alam, the PCB's director of international cricket operations, has said the board's list of central contracts for 2012 was dated and is open to review. The list of 42 players, which was announced by the PCB on Saturday, was finalised before the squads were selected for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour, he said. Subsequently, Mohammad Sami, Yasir Arafat and Rahat Ali, who have been picked for the tour, are without contracts.
Pakistan had extended the pool of contracted players from 28 to 42, and there were several irregularities: apart from the players who missed out, fast-bowler Wahab Riaz, who has been axed from all senior squads following a poor run, was awarded a category C contract. Also, banned Quetta wicketkeeper Bismillah Khan was named under the stipend category. Meanwhile fast bowler Mohammad Talha, who is touted to be a promising prospect but is yet to find a real opportunity in the senior team, missed out despite being contracted in 2011. Talha has played just the one Test, and was last selected the Tests against England earlier this year, but was ruled out due to a back injury.
"This is the list that was finalised before selecting the teams for Sri Lanka tour," Alam said. "Sami, at that time, was nowhere near to national selection, while Talha was unfit and his status was unclear. But now we are open to review [the list] and will definitely look into it."
Bismillah was handed a 12-month ban for fighting in a grade two match at Jinnah Stadium, Gujranwala, on April 21. He had challenged the ban before a judicial commissioner of the PCB, and he will not be excluded from the contracts unless the commissioner rules against him, Alam said. "His contact currently is on hold, we will wait for the outcome of his appeal. The contract will be withdrawn if the commissioner upholds his ban."
As per the 2012 contacts, the players have got a hike of 25% in their retainers, and an increase of 10% in match fees. The contracts also feature a minor addition with regards to disciplinary matters, along with a clause that addresses the issues of players who wish to play in county cricket, foreign leagues, exhibition/charity matches and unauthorised cricket.
Some category A players have reportedly shown reservations about signing the contracts, and have sought more time to study them. The cricketers who were playing without contracts since January 2012 (the previous batch of contract expired on December 31, 2011) will be paid once they submit the signed copy of the contract to the PCB.
"We have yet to receive any protest or statements of reservation over the contracts from any player, but we are open to address any sort of reservations the players have," Alam said. "There are no substantial changes in the contracts from the previous ones; we've made a few changes regarding playing overseas cricket and the clauses that address disciplinary matters."