The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), on Wednesday, announced the list of centrally contracted players for the 2020-21 season. All eyes were on the former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed who was in Category A last year and now has been demoted to Category B. On the other hand, young speedster Shaheen Afridi and Test captain Azhar Ali have been promoted to the top category alongside ODI and T20I skipper Babar Azam.
The PCB has made some tough decisions as well and axed Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz from the contract list. Both the players retired from the Test format during the previous season which had created a furore in the country. However, they have been playing in the other two forms of the game. Other players to not get the contract for the upcoming season are Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman.
Imam-ul-Haq and Yasir Shah have also been demoted a category each. Apart from Shaheen Afridi and Azhar Ali, Abid Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and Shan Masood got promotions. Iftikhar Ahmed is the only other new face in the 18-player contract list while Haider Ali, Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf are the part of Emerging Players’ Category.
Amir and Wahab remain in contention, says Misbah-ul-Haq
Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq clarified that the selection of players in the contract list was totally merit-based and the performances over the last 12 months were taken into consideration. He also stated that Hasan Ali didn’t play most of the last season due to injury and hence was removed while the senior players Wahab Riaz and Amir were axed as they retired from Test cricket.
However, he made it clear that they remain in contention to play for the country. “The philosophy and criteria for this merit-based central contract list was simple and straightforward: the selectors reviewed player performances in the past 12 months and then looked ahead to our team requirements in the forthcoming 12 months.
“The selectors have made the tough decisions to leave out Amir, Hasan and Wahab but considering Hasan missed most of the season due to an injury and Amir and Wahab decided to focus on white-ball cricket, this was the right move.
“However, Amir and Wahab are senior and experienced bowlers and they remain in contention as we believe they can still contribute to the Pakistan men’s cricket team and also mentor our young battery of fast bowlers,” he said in the PCB’s press release.
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