Karachi, June 13: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to give seniority the priority in finalizing the new central contracts for 2015 with the captains of all three formats of the game being placed in the top category.
According to a well-placed source in the board the PCB will announce the list of players being given the central contracts after the board of governors meeting on Saturday.
"A total of 31 players are being given central contracts and the board has decided after consulting with the national selectors and the present captains to place seniors in the top category," the source said.
He said the Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, ODI captain Azhar Ali, T20 captain Shahid Afridi, senior batsman Younis Khan and all-rounder Muhammad Hafeez will feature in the category A of the contracts that will be valid from 1st July to 31st December, 2015.
"There were a lot of discussions on whether to give players who only play one or two forms of the game the top bracket but keeping in mind the seniority involved it was decided to five seniority of players first consideration and than performances and fitness," the source said.
He said off-spinner, Saeed Ajmal has been dropped from category A in the new contracts as he is presently not playing for Pakistan.
"Category B will also feature around five players including Ahmed Shehzad, Junaid Khan, Asad Shafiq, Rahat Ali etc," the source said.
The PCB has already announced it will be give raise of 10 to 20 percent in the central contracts monthly retainers as well in the match fees of players.
The source said the other 21 players have been bracketed in category C and D and also involve upcoming youngsters and some top performers of domestic cricket to encourage them.
"The central contracts once approved by the governing board will be sent to Sri Lanka for the players to complete the signing process but before the team left for Sri Lanka some of the seniors have already signed them," the source added.
Last year the board had laid emphasis on bracketing players according to the formats they played in and their fitness levels. The omission of Younis from the top category caused much embarrassment for the board and it had to retract the promote the former captain from B to A category.
The board has already delayed the announcement of the new contracts for 2015 because of the World Cup. Before the World Cup the board had given the already contracted players of 2014 a three months extension but they refused to sign the short term contracts and returned them.