Lahore: Senior cricketers, including former captain Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, face the axe when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announces the central contracts for 2016/17.
According to a well-informed source in the board, the names of Afridi and Ajmal have not been included in the preliminary list of players who will be given the 12-month central contracts next month.
The central contracts divided into four categories guarantee a lucrative monthly salary for the players regardless of whether they are playing or not.
"The committee formed to finalize the list of players also has serious doubts about awarding contracts to some other players who have had perennial fitness issues or have been inconsistent in performances," the source said.
A lot of controversy has been generated over PCB retirement plans for stalwarts, Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal and a meeting called by PCB senior official, Najam Sethi with the two players on Monday didn't materialize.
While Afridi who now plays only in the T20 format has not been selected by the national selectors after the World T20 this year, Ajmal last played for Pakistan in April, 2015 in Bangladesh but has returned to domestic with a bang with his modified bowling action.
The source said since the selectors had more or less made up their minds on the two players the two stalwarts would not get the central contracts.
"Afridi was given category A in the existing contracts as he was the national T20 captain while Ajmal got category B because of his services to Pakistan cricket and his seniority. But now both clearly are out of future plans," the source told PTI.
He said there were question marks over giving top category contracts to even seniors like Muhammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail who have struggled with fitness problems.
Other existing centrally contracted players are also likely to be dumped from the new list.
The players have been pleading for another pay hike of 15 to 25 percent in the new central contracts which were to be given out in July but delayed due to the tour to England.
"The PCB is yet to accept the demand for another hike in salaries and match fees," the source added.