LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wednesday omitted controversial cricketer Umar Akmal from the central contract list for the period of 2017-18, which comprises 35 players classified into four categories.

The central contracts have been awarded on the basis of performances, fitness, and discipline of the players. A number of young players have also been awarded central contracts this year keeping in mind that the national teams in all formats will be going through a transitional period after a number of retirements from last year’s central contract list.

"A number of young players have been awarded central contracts this year keeping in mind that the national teams in all formats will be going through a transitionary period after a number of retirements from last year's central contract list," an official PCB release stated. The official statement also said that the monthly retainers for all categories have been increased by 10 percent.

Akmal has been on the wrong end of disciplinary and fitness-related issues recently, and was even replaced, a week before the start of the Champions Trophy, by Haris Sohail after failing a fitness test. That Akmal had been on the decline was evident from the fact that he had been relegated from Category C to D, when Pakistan last drew up the contract list in October 2016.

Some of the recent performers like fast bowler M Amir (category B to A), Imad Wasim (category C to B) and Babar Azam (category C to B) have all gained promotions, while the likes of Wahab Riaz (category B to C) and Rahat Ali (category B to C) have scaled down.

Opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad, whose only Champions Trophy appearance came against India in their opening game, has found himself jump up from Category D to C. Shahzad had previously been demoted to the lowest category along with Umar in the previous list.

Apart from Umar Akmal, Zulfiqar Babar and Anwar Ali have also been omitted from the contract list, having previously been on Category D. The likes of Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, M Irfan - all of whose involvement in the PSL corruption case earned them suspensions - were expectedly missing.

M Nawaz is also serving a two-month suspension commencing on May 16, 2017 for delay in reporting a bookie approach during this year's Pakistan's tour of Australia, but was listed under Category D. Several youngsters like Shadab Khan, Usman Shinwari, Fahim Ashraf, Imamul Haq have also been handed contracts.

The selectors have also picked an additional wicketkeeper, M Hasan, in the list along with Sarfraz Ahmed - captain in all three formats - and M Rizwan, who was demoted from Category C to D.

Usman Salahuddin, who was given a contract in 2012 before fading away, has once more returned to national contention. As a possible contender for one of the vacancies in the Test team's middle order, he was given a Category D contract. Umar Amin, who has also been absent from the central contracts list for the past few years, returns in Category D. Bilal Asif, who was included in Category D, is the only off-spinner among the 35 players to be offered central contracts.

The PCB has named chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq's nephew Imam-ul-Haq in the emerging players category. He recently had a productive stint with Pakistan Under-23, scoring two back-to-back hundreds in Bangladesh. Asif Zakir, a batsman from Karachi, has also been rewarded with a Category D contract for successive prolific domestic seasons after he scored 791 runs in 10 first-class matches in 2015-16 at an average of 56.50, and 853 first runs at 85.30 in 2016-17.

PAKISTAN'S 2017-18 CONTRACT LIST:

Category A: Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, M Hafeez, M Amir.

Category B: Imad Wasim, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Hasan Ali.

Category C: Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Harris Sohail, Sami Aslam, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Junaid Khan, Ahmed Shehzad, M Abbas, Shadab Khan.

Category D: M Nawaz, Asif Zakir, Usman Salahuddin, Amir Yamin, Usman Shinwari, Fahim Ashraf, Rumaan Raees, Imamul Haq, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Umer Amin, M Hasan, M Asghar, M Rizwan.

SALARIES:

Category A: Rs 650,000

Category B: Rs 450,000

Category C: Rs 260,000

Category D: Rs 179,000