Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
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The PCB has announced an increment in its domestic players' monthly retainers and match fee, across all formats and levels, for the 2022-23 season.
As per the new financial model, a player featuring in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will now get a match fee of PKR 100,000 as opposed to the previous PKR 60,000. Those playing the white-ball tournaments - the Pakistan Cup and the National T20 - will now earn PKR 60,000 per game instead of PKR 40,000.
The non-playing members of a squad will get PKR 40,000 and PKR 20,000 per match in red and white-ball cricket respectively.
Pakistan's domestic season started on August 30 with the National T20; those who participated in it did so without a contract. ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB's domestic and high-performance centre was waiting for the Board of Governors (BoG) to approve the new model. Those who have played in the National T20 will get their match fee as per the new structure.
In all, the PCB will offer contracts to 192 players 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. The board is yet to announce the names of the contracted players.
"Domestic cricket is the backbone of Pakistan cricket and we need to continue to invest in it to make it a stronger and more attractive brand," Nadeem Khan, the High Performance director, said in a press release. "In this relation, I am grateful to the BoG for supporting and approving the management's recommendations. I am sure these new financial incentives will take our domestic cricket forward and assist the PCB in further reducing the gap with international cricket.
"The retainers and match fees have been increased to motivate and inspire cricketers to work harder round the year to maintain the required and expected levels of fitness and form, which forms the basis of retaining places in the contract list. Besides, the new incentives will also encourage them to give preference to our tournament over foreign leagues. Needless to remind everyone, PCB domestic events are a pathway to selection in the national side."
In 2019, the PCB did away with its traditional regional and department team model and narrowed down the national pipeline into six associational teams representing all six provinces in the country. That resulted in over 120 players missing out on playing domestic cricket.
Currently, with six elite and six second XI teams, with each having 16 players, the number of active domestic players is 192. Earlier, it was over 300.
The PCB insisted that with its new financial model, a domestic player can earn way more than what he was earning previously. After the latest increment, if an A+ category player plays all matches in the season, including the finals, he could earn PKR 6.1 million. The corresponding figure for a D category player will be PKR 4.3 million.
Earlier this year, the PCB brought in several changes to the domestic structure for the 2022-23 season, where 187 matches will be played across formats over five months. The season will end in the first week of January, unlike previous ones when it stretched till March.