LAHORE: Pakistan wicket-keeper/batsman Mohammad Rizwan has been promoted to Category ‘A’ of the PCB Central Contract List with middle-order batsman Fawad Alam being awarded Category ‘C’ following their stellar performances during the ongoing season.
Rizwan was earlier in Category ‘B’ but now joins the elite category which also comprises Pakistan Test captain Babar Azam, batsman Azhar Ali and paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi.
“Since the current central contracts were announced on 13 May 2020, Rizwan is Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in Tests with 529 runs in seven matches at an average of 52.90, while he is overall the third leading run-scorer in T20Is with 325 runs at an average of 65 and strike-rate of just under 139. In the three ODIs against Zimbabwe, he scored 25 runs,” a Pakistan Cricket Board press release said on Wednesday.
“Behind the wickets, Rizwan has accounted for 16 batsmen in Tests, three in ODIs and eight in T20Is in the season during which Pakistan played international cricket against England, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and South Africa. Their upcoming assignments are in South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
Fawad scored centuries against New Zealand and South Africa, and has now aggregated 320 runs in 11 innings of six Tests. His 102 against New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test earned him the PCB Individual Performance of 2020 award.
“As part of its policy to acknowledge, incentivise and reward high-performing cricketers, the PCB has also elevated Fawad Alam from A+ domestic contract category to Category ‘C’ of the PCB Central Contract List 2020-21,” the PCB stated.
The PCB added that it also offered a Category ‘C’ contract Mohammad Hafeez but the Twenrty20 specialist “politely turned it down”, asking he will wait till the Board announces its next central contract for 2021-22.
Hafeez has seen a breakdown in his relations with the PCB after he wasn’t considered for the recent Twenty20 series against South Africa due to differences over following coronavirus SOPs.
“While I am disappointed, I fully respect his [Hafeez’s] decision,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying in the news release. “
“He wants to wait for the PCB Central Contract 2021-22 list, which he is fully entitled to.”
Updated Central Contract List for 2020-21:
Category ‘A’: Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Babar Azam (Central Punjab), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
Category ‘B’: Abid Ali (Central Punjab), Asad Shafiq (Sindh), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Mohammad Abbas (Southern Punjab), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh), Shadab Khan (Northern), Shan Masood (Southern Punjab) and Yasir Shah (Balochistan).
Category ‘C’: Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Iftikhar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Imad Wasim (Northern), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Naseem Shah (Central Punjab) and Usman Shinwari (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
Emerging Players’ Category:
Haider Ali (Northern), Haris Rauf (Northern) and Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh).
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021