ICL: Indian Cricket League

Shoaib to get new contract, Shabbir doubtful: PCB chief



Pakistan will renew the contract of injured speedster Shoaib Akhtar but another sidelined paceman Shabbir Ahmed is unlikely to get any such financial incentive, a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Monday.

Chairman PCB Shaharyar Khan told ‘The News’ that Shoaib would be on the list of players scheduled to sign central contracts for another 12-month period despite being ruled out of the initial part of this summer’s tour of England because of a stress fracture.

“Shoaib may be injured right now but he is very much on our list for a central contract,” said Shaharyar. “He has shown a lot of commitment and dedication in recent times and we expect him to be fit soon and join the (national) team,” he added.

There have been speculations in recent days that Shoaib might be dropped from the list of players scheduled to get central contracts, as his participation in Pakistan’s tour of England remains uncertain because of suspect fitness.

The enigmatic fast bowler has been out of action since January this year and is unlikely to make a comeback before August. But Shaharyar said his inclusion in the 20-man list was never in doubt, saying, “Shoaib has assured us that he would work hard to regain his fitness and we expect him to so as soon as possible.”

The PCB chief, however, said Shabbir, serving an International Cricket Council (ICC) suspension over illegal bowling action, might not be considered for a contract renewal. “He (Shabbir) is doubtful and might not be included in the central contracts’ list. The bowler cannot play for Pakistan till the end of this year and that is a long time,” he said.

Shaharyar added that Shabbir could be considered for a six-month contract early next year provided he makes a successful return to international cricket following the ICC ban. He informed that the central contracts would be finalised within the next couple of days. “The ground work has already been done and the (PCB) Ad-hoc Committee has also given it formal go-ahead recently for the new contracts to be issued,” he said.

The Board has promised to give the cricketers a pay raise but in the meantime has also planned to reduce the number of players getting a contract to 20. “Any amount that would be saved from the deduction of players (from the central contract system) would be diverted towards a raise the players are going to get,” the PCB boss stated.

Shaharyar revealed that the Board would also soon announce performance-based incentives for the players. “Players who will play important roles in the team’s wins would get cash rewards,” he declared.

On the issue of the schedule of the 2011 World Cup matches, Shaharyar said South Asian officials would meet later this year to sort out the issue. He rejected the impression that Pakistan and India — the two major partners of the 2011 World Cup bid — are at loggerheads over the issue of which country should host the final of the prestigious tournament.
Source:The News

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