LAHORE-Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan has revealed that the central contracts for national men players will be announced today (Tuesday).

“In the past, the PCB didn’t make long-term plans but the current management is keen on changing the practice hence the contracts, that are to come into existence from July 1, are being announced now to give security to the players,” said the PCB CEO in a video message issued here on Monday.

“Head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq was working on finalising the contracts for the last two to three weeks and has now shortlisted the names to 19 or 20. The list will be discussed internally before it is sent to the PCB chairman for his approval. The contracts are likely to be divided in three categories, while despite the prevailing situation, the board is thinking of increasing the value of the contracts rather than decreasing their value,” he added.

Wasim said that the players, who will feature in all three formats, are likely to have increased salaries in the new contracts. “As always there were some speculation on the contracts and players, however, the actual situation will only be revealed once the contracts are announced by the board,” he added.

The PCB CEO also revealed that a meeting of Cricket Committee will be held tomorrow (Wednesday).

“The central contracts and domestic cricket will be the issues discussed during the meeting, and departmental cricket will also be part of the meeting agenda. Domestic cricket remains the PCB’s priority and at present planning for the next season is underway.

Considering the situation, PCB will, like last year, re-invest in domestic cricket in the forthcoming season. “The performances of the coaches of all six associations will be reviewed, while the formation of the interim committees is in its final stages. We are trying to limit our expenditure and hope to have at least 50 per cent of the expenses of domestic cricket sponsored but due to the ongoing situation sponsorships are not available at present,” he added.

About Pakistan team’s tour to England, Wasim said that the tour is dependent on the Covid-19 situation in England as the PCB will not make any compromise on health and safety of its players. “The board was in constant communication with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and a conference call to discuss the tour has been set-up for May 15. The call will be attended by ECB’s Chief Executive, Director Cricket, Chief Medical Officer and Director International Cricket Operations while I will be representing the PCB along with Misbah-ul-Haq, Zakir Khan and Dr Sohail Saleem. At this stage, we will be discussing various options while a decision on the tour is expected to be made in June.”

Replying to a query regarding the proposed tours of England and Australia, the PCB official said that the next 12 months are very important. If the MCC can travel to Pakistan, there is no reason England and Australia can’t. The two teams are expected to come to Pakistan in the 2021-22 seasons. On the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the UK, Wasim elaborated that the situation was pretty bad but the ECB are focused on providing a bio-secure environment for the series against Pakistan. “The PCB will evaluate the players’ travel and accommodation plan that will be shared by the ECB.”

Speculations are rife that the tour would be converted to a four or five match Test series but it will be premature to make a commitment about that at this stage, there will be more clarity after the conference call. “In England, the most important aspect would be the health of the players since the longer they stay there, the more they will be exposed.”

Wasim also spoke about the importance of the next 12 months as the cricket community needed to come together and support each other in the prevailing global crisis. “PCB is equipped to deal with the situation for the next one year but if the situation persists for 18 months, the Board would have to review the situation and make decisions; however we are confident cricket will resume by then,” he added.

The PCB CEO also thanked the former players who delivered online lectures to national and emerging players in the last two weeks. “I am thankful to all the players who gave the lectures. Our players have been celebrated as heroes across the cricketing world we also need to respect them equally. Our former players have exceptional stats and performances which make them earn accolades from around the world, we will continue to use their services in the future.” Wasim concluded.