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By Sohail Ali

LAHORE, Sep 23 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board has revealed it will offer lucrative 12-month contracts to a big number of unemployed cricketers for the 2020-21 domestic cricket season, which gets under way in Multan with the National T20 Cup First XI matches on 30 September.

PCB Director of High Performance, Nadeem Khan, told APP on Wednesday from Islamabad that based on feedback received from the 192 cricketers, who have been selected for the 2020-21 domestic central contracts, 76 per cent have confirmed they were without any permanent or contractual jobs.

“These are staggering numbers and present the clear picture that most of our top cricketers, including some future stars, were with any jobs or guaranteed income until the PCB came forward and offered them 12-month performance-based contracts.

“11 percent cricketers out of the 192 have permanent employments with either WAPDA, SNGPL and PIA, while the remaining 13 percent have contractual employment with 12 departments. These statistics does not include the 18 centrally contracted and three cricketers with emerging contracts who are employed by the PCB.

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“If you break this down further, then the data suggests 146 cricketers out of 192 are without any jobs, while 46 cricketers have some sort of employment, including 22 permanent employment and 24 contractual employment,” the former Test spinner said.
According to the 2020-21 domestic players’ data, the 192 cricketers will represent 15 departments namely CDA, Kausar Sons Leisure Pvt. Ltd., K-Electric, KP Police, KPT, KRL, NESCOM (PMO), PAF, Pakistan Navy, PIA, Port Qasim, S&G Adm. Balochistan, SNGPL, WAPDA and ZTBL.

Nadeem, who won around 15 national titles with various domestic teams in a 17-year career from 1986 to 2003, said the PCB will continue to look after the wellbeing of its best domestic cricketers besides giving the younger generation a pathway to professionalism.

“The $200million three-year deal is a game-changer that will not only end over-reliance on foreign broadcasters but will be reinvested into cricket, including increasing players’ contract value. This is no lip service, we have already done this in the 2020-21 domestic season where there is an increase of 83 per cent in First XI players’ earnings.

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“But we are not only looking after current domestic cricketers, but also trying to create opportunities for players in the twilight of their careers by encouraging them to take up coaching and match officials’ roles. “I am particularly keen to see some of our former Test cricketers to qualify in the ICC match officials’ panel. Pakistan’s last match referee on the ICC panel was Wasim Raja about 18 years ago, while Nadeem Ghauri was the last Pakistan umpire to stand in a Test that too 15 years.

“Unfortunately, we have not worked as hard as we should have to motivate former cricketers to take up match officials’ roles. I have spoken to a few cricketers who are nearing the end of their careers and they have expressed their interest. The PCB will continue to engage with them and create pathways for them to stay connected with the game, albeit in different roles,” Nadeem, who took 534 first-class wickets, said.