PCB awards better-paying contracts to women cricketers but trims the number down

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Earlier this year, PCB awarded six-month-long contracts to 17 cricketers © Getty

As a recognition for their performances against the West Indies and South Africa, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday handed better-paying 12-month central contracts to 10 ‘elite women cricketers’.

Though the length of the central contracts have doubled, there has been a decrease in the number of female players to whom they have been awarded. Earlier this year, the cricket board had awarded six-month-long contracts to 17 cricketers after an appraisal process.

To strike the balance between the men’s and women’s senior teams, the board announced business class travel for the women’s senior team for flights over five hours, along with doubling the daily allowance for the camps in Pakistan and a fifty percent hike in daily allowance while on foreign tours.

Category ‘A’ includes only two players – Sana Mir and Nida Dar, who has been promoted from ‘B’. The demotion of Bismah Maroof, the captain of both ODI and T20I teams, to category ‘B’ is astonishing. Along her, Javeria Wadood, and Nahida Khan have also been bumped down, with the latter falling in the ‘C’ category.

Cricbuzz understands that the contracts have been awarded on the basis of recent individual performances and enhance the competition amongst the players to earn their spots. Maroof has been going through a dip in form in ODIs this year, averaging only 15 in five matches. But her T20I record with the bat has been phenomenal this year. She has amassed 265 runs, with two unbeaten half centuries against the West Indies and South Africa, in eight matches – averaging over 44, which is almost 18 more than his career’s.

The retainers for the ones in category ‘A’ have increased by 20 percent. The ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories see an increase of 18.5 and 18 percent in monthly remuneration. The new contracts will commence from the beginning of next month (1 July).

Wasim Khan, the managing director of the PCB, said: “The PCB is pleased to announce the upgraded and enhanced central contracts to our women cricketers for the next 12 months, which reflect the value, respect and importance we place in our women international cricketers.

“The enhanced new central contracts form a key part of the vision to enhance the profile of women’s cricket and our aim to strive towards a fairer system. As a responsible and professional organisation, we remain committed to investing in the growth and development of women’s cricket. We want to strengthen the women’s and girls’ game at all levels so that our national team can continue to go from strength to strength”.

To increase the player pool and enhance the profile of the domestic competitions, the PCB introduced a match fee of PKR 10,000 for a match for all cricketers. “The women cricketers have shown tremendous improvement recently and this is reflected in the central contracts being offered to them, which are reward and incentive-based,” said Urooj Mumtaz, the chair of Pakistan’s women’s selection panel. “With more international cricket scheduled over the coming months, this will motivate the girls to continue to perform strongly.

“Apart from the enhanced central contracts, we have also introduced incentives for the players in domestic cricket, who will now earn PKR10,000 per match. This is a small step in making women’s cricket more professional and inspiring young women cricketers to take up the sport with a realistic opportunity to represent the country.”

Pakistan currently occupy the fifth position in the ICC Women’s Championship with their two round left – against India and England. Last month, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had sought permission from the Indian government to host the Pakistan’s women’s team later this year.

The top four team will secure direct qualification for the 2021 ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

List of centrally contracted players:

Category A – Nida Dar and Sana Mir

Category B – Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Wadood, Nashra Sandhu, Sidra Ameen and Sidra Nawaz

Category C – Diana Baig and Nahida Khan

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