Karachi: Star performers Hasan Ali and Mohammad Rizwan have been upgraded to the top category of Pakistan cricket as officials announced the latest central contracts on Friday.
The contracts determine pay and other benefits for an elite list of 20 players, with the aim of retaining talent in Pakistan.
The latest list is a timely birthday gift for Hasan, who turned 27 on Friday.
He joined all-format skipper Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Rizwan in the ‘A’ category, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Hasan missed out on a contract last year through injury, but has made a great comeback in all three formats - taking 10 wickets against South Africa in February and another nine against Zimbabwe three months later.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rizwan has also been playing well, scoring maiden Test and Twenty20 centuries this year.
But senior players Shan Masood, Mohammad Abbas, Asad Shafiq and Imad Wasim were excluded from the list, as were exciting youngsters Haider Ali and Naseem Shah.
The PCB has upped salaries for all the contracted players, with ‘A’ category players getting 1.375 million rupees ($8,700) a month.
“Despite the challenging economic climate, we believe that it is important to continue to show advancement and significant progress in contracts,” said PCB chief executive Wasim Khan.
Category A: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali.
Category B: Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Fawad Alam, Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah.
Category C: Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Nauman Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed.