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Deadlock over central contracts between PCB and players

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board and representatives of the national team players find themselves in a deadlock over the terms and conditions of the new central contracts, to be issued this month.

An official source in the PCB told PTI that one round of talks had been held between senior board officials and the players representatives, Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali this week, while another round is scheduled for today to end the deadlock.

"The deadlock is over a demand by the players that they be given incentive bonuses for winning both matches as well as series in all three formats," the source said.

"The PCB's contention is that it will continue with the win bonus system included in the last central contracts which
included payments for series wins and not individual matches," he disclosed.

The source said Misbah, who is Test captain and Azhar, who leads the ODI squad are both also insisting on increasing the monthly retainers given to players and their match fees. He explained the PCB was clear that it would give 100 per cent bonus for winning a series in any format if it was against India or the top three teams in the ICC rankings.

"There is a 75 per cent win bonus for winning a series against teams placed from fourth to seventh in the ICC rankings and 50 per cent for teams placed seventh to 10th in the rankings," the source explained. He said the win bonus percentage was calculated according to the match fees paid to the players in all three formats.

"For example in Test matches, players usually are getting a match fee of 5,00,000 rupees and if they win a Test series against India or the top three teams they will be paid 100 per cent of the match fee amount as win bonus," he said.

The source said the players, however, are insisting that the board give win bonuses for not only series wins but also individual match wins in all three formats.

"The PCB has argued that win bonus should only be for series because if the team wins one match of a series but loses it eventually why should they get any bonus at all," the source said.

The PCB had decided to extend the 2014 central contracts for the first six months of 2015 due to the World Cup and other assignments.

"The new central contracts now will be from July 1st to June 30th over a 12-month period," he said. The source said the board officials including Chairman Shaharyar Khan, chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad and Chairman of the executive committee Najam Sethi have made it clear that while the new contracts would have a pay hike it would not be as much as the players expected.

"In the last central contracts, the players were given a 20 per cent hike in their monthly retainers and around 10 per cent in match fees," he recalled.

Meanwhile, the national selection committee has been given the task of finalising the list of players who will be given the new central contracts.

The biggest question mark is over the retention of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and whether he should be given a new contract.

"There is a big question mark over whether Saeed will get a new contract as he is presently not in the plans of the national selectors," a source said.

Saeed was Pakistan's top bowler for the last three years in all formats until his bowling action was reported by the match officials during a Test in Sri Lanka last August.

Banned from bowling by the ICC, Saeed eventually cleared the assessment test with a remodelled bowling action and was also selected for the tour to Bangladesh in April. But after an unimpressive tour, the selectors have since sidelined him and the off-spinner preferred to go and play in English county cricket for Worcestershire.

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