LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set to grant central contracts to fast bowlers M Sami and M Talha in the current week, it has been learnt.

Earlier, the chief selector Iqbal Qasim has recommended the names of fast bowler Sami and Talha to chairman Pakistan Cricket Board for grant of central contracts, the source added.

The source revealed that chief selector Iqbal Qasim had also spoken to senior board officials and discussed the omissions of Sami and Talha from the list of contracted players.

“Discussions were also held on how the name of a banned player, Bismillah Khan was included in the list of players given retaining for the year,” a source said. The source also said that captain Misbah-ul-Haq had also spoken to board officials about the omission of Sami and Talha from the central contracts.

“A final decision on including Sami and Talha in the central contracts list will be taken as soon as board chairman Zaka Ashraf returns from India by Tuesday,” the source said.

Sami’s exclusion from the list had caused uproar in the cricket circles as he is among the few players who are a part of the Pakistan team in all three formats of the game for the tour of Sri Lanka.

Sami, who has performed admirably in the last domestic season and also in the Bangladesh Premier League, was said to have expressed complete dismay after finding out he had not got a contract.

“Apparently it has been decided in principle to give Sami and Talha contracts but a final decision and approval would be given when Ashraf returns home,” the source said.

On the other side of the coin, Faisalabad’s premier fast bowler, Talha has been a prolific performer in the domestic cricket since last three years. The 23-year-old pacer made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2009 but has not played any international cricket since then.

He was a part of Pakistan team for the series against England earlier this year but was ruled out because of an injury. Talha, who plays for the National Bank of Pakistan in the domestic cricket of the country, has 218 wickets in just 53 first-class matches, which is quite an impressive record. The skinny fast bowler is considered to be one of the fastest in Pakistan and is expected to lead the country’s bowling attack in the years to come.

The selection committee has been under immense criticism for ignoring players like Sami and Talha but the former Test cricketer expressed that the names were decided earlier when Sami was not part of the team and Talha was struggling with fitness issues.

“The names for central contracts were finalised when Sami was not part of the team while Talha was grappling with fitness problems. But now the selection committee will recommend their names for central contracts,” Qasim expressed.

The source said that there were also chances that Bismillah’s name will be dropped from the retainer’s list as he was recently banned for a year by the board for gross misconduct during a grade two domestic match while playing for Peshawar.