LAHORE -  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday announced that its 21 cricketers on central contracts would get a 15-percent salary increase and a 10-percent rise in match fees this year.

The PCB keeps 21 players on central contracts in three categories, marked by three different scales for retainers and match fees. "For the second consecutive year, the players’ Retainership fee has been increased by 15 percent," the PCB spokesman said.  "The Test match fee for all categories has also been increased as well as the match fee for all formats by 10 percent from 2012," he added.

The increases give ‘A’ category players a monthly salary of Rs 359,375 ($3,600) and a Test match fee of Rs 440,000 ($4,400). ‘B’ category players will get a monthly salary of Rs 251,562 while players in the ‘C’ category will earn Rs 143,750 and the players in stipend category will receive Rs 71,875.

Dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi was lucky enough to retain his place in the ‘A’ category after being dropped from the one-day squad for upcoming Champions Trophy in England and after retiring from Test cricket in 2010. Younus Khan, who have been dropped from the ODI team, have also been retained in the top A category while fast-bowler Umar Gul, who plays all the three formats, has been dropped from A to B. Kamran Akmal, who wasn't considered for a central contract last year, has been awarded a C category contract this time.

Three players Umar Akmal, Abdul Rehman and Umar Gul were demoted from A category to B while Taufeeq Umar and Aizaz Cheema were also downgraded from B category to C. Nasir Jamshed, who played very well and proved himself a much improved batsman, was promoted to B category as earlier in 2012, he was given C category. Lanky fast bowler M Irfan and stylish opener Ahmed Shahzad also impressed the PCB high ups with their performances and therefore, they were promoted from stipend category to C category.

Wahab Riaz and Sarfraz Ahmad could not perform well in this year and therefore they were demoted to stipend category as earlier in 2012 central contracts they were enjoying C category facilities. Harris Sohail and Anwar Ali retained in the stipend category while Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Umar Amin, Zulifqar Babar, Asad Ali were the players who were the new entries in the stipend category.

But it is unfortunate that the PCB deprived most of the emerging players including Sohail Tanveer, Khalid Latif, Sharjeel Khan, Shakeel Ansar, Raza Hasan, Usman Salahuddin, Ayub Dogar, Imran Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Awais Zia, Shahzeb Hasan, M Khalil, Afaq Rahim, Bismillah Khan, Babar Azam, Sami Aslam, Ziaul Haq and Usman Qadir of stipend category which will discourage them and prevent them to fully focus on their game as they have also to think about their livelihood.

If the PCB chairman cuts his tours short and stops wasting precious treasure of the board on unnecessary things then surely these players as well as low salaried PCB employees can not only get better treatment from the board but also boost in their finance which will help them fully focus on their given task.

PCB 2013 Central Contract Players:

Category A: Misbahul Haq, Younus Khan, M Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi.

Category B: Shoaib Malik, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Junaid Khan, Abdur Rehman, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul and Nasir Jamshed.

Category C: Kamran Akmal, Imran Farhat, Aizaz Cheema, Taufeeq Umar, Adnan Akmal, Faisal Iqbal, Ahmed Shahzad and M Irfan.

Stipends category: Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Ehsan Adil, Umar Amin, Zulifqar Babar, Asad Ali, Harris Sohail Sohail and Anwar Ali.