Malik’s surprise Pakistan cricket contract

Allrounder Shoaib Malik is a surprise inclusion among six players awarded category A contracts by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).


Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi, batsman Younis Khan and allrounder Mohammad Hafeez were retained on Saturday in the top category while ODI captain Azhar Ali was elevated from category C to A.

The 33-year-old Malik was recalled for the limited-overs series against Zimbabwe at home in May after two years and scored a century.

Malik had not had a PCB central contract for two years since being dropped after the 2013 Champions Trophy due to lack of form.

Fast bowler Umar Gul, recovering from knee surgery, was ignored by the PCB in the list of 27 players, who were given contracts in four categories until June 2016.

Fast bowler Junaid Khan and spinner Saeed Ajmal were demoted from category A to B while Umar Akmal also slipped into category C from B. Tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan was promoted from category D to C.

“This bunch is a blend of seasoned players with proven credentials and emerging talent with potential to represent Pakistan across three formats,” the PCB said in a statement.

“The remunerations – both the monthly retainer as well as match fees – have been increased across the board along with restoring the win bonuses and performance incentives.”

The cricket board awarded contracts on the recommendation of the central contract committee, headed by the PCB’s director of international cricket Zakir Khan, with chief selector Haroon Rashid and head coach Waqar Younis as its members.

Category A: Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan.

Category B: Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.

Category C: Anwar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaan Masood, Umar Akmal

Category D: Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar.