LAHORE: Three recent debutants were among the players named in the central contracts list for the national women’s team by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday.

Spinner Tuba Hasan and batters Gul Feroza and Sadaf Shamas, who were capped in Pakistan’s recent home series against Sri Lanka, were awarded maiden contracts in the Category ‘D’.

Veteran batter Javeria Khan’s demotion from Category ‘A’ to ‘C’ was the other notable development.

Tuba claimed five wickets in Pakistan’s three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka to be adjudged ICC Women’s Player of the Month for May.

Javeria, once considered a Pakistan mainstay, was demoted after a dismal 2021-22 season, in which she could manage only 141 runs in 10 One-day Internationals.

All-rounder Kainat Imtiaz, 30, also followed Javeria in the Category ‘C’ after failing to take a wicket and accumulating 61 runs in three ODIs last season.

Seniors Aliya Riaz and Nida Dar have been promoted to Category ‘A’ where they join national team captain Bismah Maroof. Anam Amin, Fatima Sana, Nashra Sandhu and Omaima Sohail have been elevated to Category ‘B’, while Muneeba Ali and Ayesha Naseem have been upgraded to Category ‘C’.

Ghulam Fatima, Iram Javed and Sidra Amin have regained their central contracts, which see a 15 per cent increase in retainers across all categories.

Sidra, however, has been placed in Category ‘C’, despite being Pakistan highest run-scorer in the Sri Lanka ODIs. The right-handed opener smashed 218 runs at 72.66 in the three-match series.

The six players who have failed to retain contracts include Kaynat Hafeez, Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi, Rameen Shamim, Saba Nazir and Syeda Aroob Shah.

“Eight players receiving enhanced contracts and three players being offered contracts for the first time is an indicator that we are heading in the right direction, though we still have a long road ahead to narrow the gap with the leading sides,” chair of the women’s team selection committee Asmavia Iqbal was quoted as saying in a PCB press release.

“We have made progress in the 2021-22 season and I am sure with the amount of cricket that lies ahead, we will emerge as an improved side at the end of the season.”

Pakistan kick off the next season with a tri-nation T20 series in Ireland involving the hosts and world champions Australia before they fly to Birmingham to take part in the Commonwealth Games later this month.

Women’s central contracts:

Category A: Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar

Category B: Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Nashra Sandhu and Omaima Sohail

Category C: Ayesha Naseem, Muneeba Ali, Javeria Khan, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz

Category D: Ghulam Fatima, Gul Feroza, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Sadia Iqbal, Sadaf Shamas and Tuba Hassan.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2022

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