Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday awarded one-year contracts to 18 players, including three cricketers last week heavily fined for indiscipline.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and his brother Umar Akmal were fined by the PCB for indiscipline during the series against Australia, but were included in the top two tiers of centrally contracted players.

Afridi and wicketkeeper Akmal were among seven players in Category A while Umar was included among six Category B players. Five players were awarded central contracts in Category C.

Each of the one-year contracts run from Jan.1-Dec.31, 2010 and attract a different salary depending on the category, with Category A the most lucrative. The PCB declined to reveal the value of each category contract.

Notable omissions from the centrally contracted players included paceman Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved.

Akhtar has been out of international cricket since May 2009 due to fitness problems, while Yousuf and Younis were banned indefinitely due to infighting on the tour of Australia in December and January.

Malik and Naved were banned for one year due to unspecified reasons and were also fined.

The A category comprises paceman Umar Gul, opening batsman Salman Butt, leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, Afridi and Kamran Akmal.

Umar Akmal, fast bowler Mohammad Aamer, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, opening batsman Imran Farhat, and middle-order batsmen Faisal Iqbal and Misbah-ul-Haq were given category B contracts.

All-rounder Yasir Arafat, opener Mohammad Hafeez, middle-order batsman Fawad Alam, fast bowler Wahab Riaz and left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman were awarded category C contracts.

Nineteen players who performed well in domestic cricket and at the Under-19 World Cup will also be offered stipends.

PCB contracted players

Category A: Umar Gul, Salman Butt, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Asif, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal

Category B: Umar Akmal, Mohammad Aamer, Saeed Ajmal, Faisal Iqbal, Misbah—ul—Haq, Imran Farhat

Category C: Fawad Alam, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Rehman

Stipends: Asad Shafiq, Junaid Khan, Aamir Sajjad, Naveed Yasin, Azhar Ali, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Tanveer Ahmad, Sarfraz Ahmad, Zulqarnain Haider, Umair Khan, Mohammad Talha, Shahzaib Hasan, Azeem Ghumman, Hammad Azam, Baber Azam, Raza Hasan, Sarmad Bhatti, Usman Qadir.

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