All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has "politely turned down" the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) central contract offer after the T20I specialist was put in Category C.
According to PCB, as part of its policy to acknowledge, incentivise and reward high-performing cricketers, the PCB elevated Fawad Alam from A+ domestic contract category to Category C of the PCB Central Contract List 2020-21, while it also offered a Category C contract to T20I specialist Hafeez, which he politely turned down.
"Mohammad Hafeez declined the reward and while I am disappointed, I fully respect his decision. He wants to wait for the PCB Central Contract 2021-22 list, which he is fully entitled to. Hafeez has been one of our star performers of the season and we hope he will carry the form and momentum to Africa," said PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan in an official statement.
PCB Test Cricketer of the year 2020, Mohammad Rizwan, has been promoted to Category A of the PCB's Central Contract List 2020-21 following stellar performances across all formats in the ongoing season.
In the elite category, the 28-year-old has now joined Pakistan captain Babar Azam, former captain Azhar Ali and star fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Since the current central contracts were announced on 13 May 2020, Rizwan is Pakistan's leading run-scorer in Tests with 529 runs in seven matches at an average of 52.90, while he is overall the third leading run-scorer in T20Is with 325 runs at an average of 65 and strike-rate of just under 139. In the three ODIs against Zimbabwe, he scored 25 runs.
Behind the wickets, Rizwan has accounted for 16 batsmen in Tests, three in ODIs and eight in T20Is in the season during which Pakistan played international cricket against England, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and South Africa. Their upcoming assignments are in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"I want to congratulate Rizwan and Fawad for earning well-deserved and well-earned promotions. This is a reward for their hard work and high-quality performances during the difficult and challenging bio-secure environments that tested their determination, resolve, commitment, mental toughness and physical fitness to the limits," said Wasim.
"The decision to promote the players was made during a meeting with the Chair of the Selection Committee, Muhammad Wasim, while we were reviewing player performances in the 2020-21 season and discussing the upcoming commitments," he added.
Fawad Alam scored centuries against New Zealand and South Africa, and has now aggregated 320 runs in 11 innings of six Tests. His 102 against New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test earned him the PCB Individual Performance of 2020 award.
"It was agreed during the meeting that three players were the most deserving and outstanding performers in the season to date and, as such, they needed to be rewarded now instead of waiting for the time when PCB Central Contract List for 2021-22 will be reviewed and announced," said Wasim.
The PCB has also introduced a new 'emerging' category for three upcoming players - Haider Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, and Haris Rauf - while Naseem Shah earned his first Category C contract.
( With inputs from ANI )
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