Pakistan Cricket Board retained former captains Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan in the top category of the central contracts announced on Tuesday, indicating that their international careers were far from over.
Although both the senior players were the major omissions from the ICC Champions Trophy squad but their retention in the top category of the contracts means the selectors still have future plans for them.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and Test opener Taufiq Umar were, however, demoted to the C category as the Board awarded contracts to 21 players, reducing the number from last year.
After deliberations between Board Chairman Zaka Ashraf and senior players led by captain Misbah-ul-Haq, the PCB also announced a hike of 15 per cent in the monthly retainers paid to the players who are given central contracts. There would also be a substantial increase in the Test match fees of the players.
The Board made the players sign the new central contracts before they left for the Champions Trophy early this morning.
An official said in order to make Test match appearances more attractive for players, there would now be a difference of around 115,000 rupees between the fees for Test and ODI.
Last year, the Board had allowed a 25 per cent increase in the monthly retainers for contracted players.
A Board official pointed out that after the 15 per cent increase this year, the players have got an overall increase of 40 per cent in their monthly retainers which was substantial given the fact that no international cricket was being played in Pakistan since 2009.
Last year, the Board had also given the players an increase of 10 per cent in their fees for all three formats.
After the pay hikes, the Category A players will now get a monthly retainer of around 375,000 rupees while those in the B category would get 265,000 and those in C category 160,000.
These monthly retainers are in addition to the match fees paid to the players who are also given bonuses for winning matches, series or tournaments and for individual performances as well.
The players during their meeting with Board officials yesterday complained that the fees and retainers paid out to them were less than those earned by players from other countries, including Bangladesh.
The Board has also announced a list of players who will be paid a monthly retainership of around 75,000 rupees.
Category A: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi.
Category B: Umar Gul, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Junaid Khan, Abdul Rehman, Shoaib Malik, Nasir Jamshed.
Category C: Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Irfan, Imran Farhat, Taufiq Umar, Aizaz Cheema, Adnan Akmal, Faisal Iqbal, Ahmed Shahzad.
Players who will get retainers include Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar, Asad Ali, Harris Sohail, Anwar Ali.