Three emerging stars secure maiden Pakistan women’s central contract

Pakistan women

ISLAMABAD: In a significant development, four untested players have earned coveted spots on Pakistan women’s central contract roster for the upcoming 2023-25 season.

This breakthrough includes three young luminaries – Anosha Nasir, Eyman Fatima, and Shawaal Zulfiqar – who have successfully transitioned from their commendable performances in the ICC Women’s U19 T20 World Cup earlier this year to clinch their inaugural senior team central contracts.

Najiha Alvi, a wicketkeeper-batter, is the fourth uncapped talent making her mark among the contracted players.

The quantity of players receiving contracts remains consistent with the previous year – a roster of 20 individuals. This ensemble is divided into four distinct categories, namely A, B, C, and a burgeoning “emerging” category, D.

An elevation from category C to A has been granted to Sidra Amin, lauding her impressive feats in the preceding season. Joining her in the topmost category are the illustrious Bismah Maroof and captain Nida Dar.

Among the noteworthy advancements, Ghulam Fatima and Sadia Iqbal have ascended from category D to C. In a parallel progression, Muneeba Ali has ascended to Category B, having previously been listed in Category C.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) revealed that these contracts were proffered to the players last week, encompassing a 23-month cycle, with a comprehensive performance evaluation slated after one year.

A handful of names, unfortunately, did not feature in this year’s central contract list. Anam Amin, Gull Feroza, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, and Kainat Imtiaz have all secured Pakistan Women’s inaugural 11-month domestic contracts. Additionally, Ayesha Naseem, who recently retired from international cricket, finds herself omitted as the sixth player.

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Significantly, the PCB has unveiled substantial increases in match fees for participants in both ODI and T20I matches – a 100% surge for ODI matches and a 50% hike for T20I encounters, encompassing both playing and non-playing roles.

Tania Mallick, the head of Women’s Cricket at PCB, underscored the extended contract’s validity until June 30, 2025, in anticipation of a dynamic international cricket schedule.

She stated, “The extended contract duration reflects our anticipation of an action-packed international cricket calendar. We want our women cricketers to be fully prepared, physically and mentally, to face every challenge and celebrate every triumph that comes their way.”

She further highlighted the augmented monetary aspect of the women’s central contracts, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to facilitating a focused environment for players. Mallick noted, “This also acknowledges the rising standard and influence of women’s cricket globally. Four outstanding players have earned their central contracts this year. This not only showcases the depth of talent in our women’s cricket but also encourages healthy competition and a spirit of excellence within the team.”

With a concentrated focus on the ICC Women’s Championship 2022-25 cycle, Saleem Jaffar, the Chair of Women’s Selection Committee, emphasized the significance of the 23-month contract. “The selection committee is pleased to announce the players who have been awarded contracts, considering the extensive cricketing calendar that lies ahead,” Jaffar said.

“We believe in the development of emerging talent, and these new contracts aim to give confidence in these players as they prepare for the upcoming cricket season.”

He further noted, “Our primary focus while awarding contracts for the next 23 months has been to recognise consistent performance and dedication displayed by the players throughout the ICC Women’s Championship cycle that began in 2022. The matches against Sri Lanka marked the inception of this evaluation, and we have precisely assessed each player’s contribution during this cycle.”

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