As the terms of the previous contract, awarded to 31 players in June last year, expired on December 31, the PCB decided to extend the players’ central contracts by three more months, till the end of the World Cup.
Younis had been originally downgraded to a category B contract last year but was promoted to A a few days later. In September, he was dropped for the ODI series against Australia in the UAE, raising questions over the future of his international career, with the batsman himself lashing out at the PCB. However, Younis batted himself back into form and World Cup contention with a stellar performance in the Tests against Australia and New Zealand, scoring four hundreds – including a double-century – and a fifty in five matches.
Sohail was one of the surprise inclusions in Pakistan’s 15-man squad for the World Cup, having not played for the country since 2011. He, however, was given a spot in the team on the back of a strong domestic season in which he ended as the leading wicket-taker in the Quaid-e-Azam GOLD League, with 64 scalps at an average of 22. Yasir’s inclusion in the squad also raised eyebrows as it meant Pakistan would be travelling without a specialist offspinner, but Moin defended the pick as a “pure cricketing decision”, calling Yasir a “wicket-taking bowler and a good prospect.”
The central contracts for 2015 will be awarded from April 1.
Category A: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Junaid Khan
Category B: Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul
Category C: Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Adnan Akmal, Khurram Manzoor, Nasir Jamshed, Abdur Rehman
Category D: Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfraz Ahmed, Bilawal Bhatti, Sharjeel Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Fawad Alam, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz, Raza Hasan, Umar Amin, Haris Sohail, Rahat Ali, Shaan Masood, Mohammad Talha, Anwar Ali, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan