KARACHI: Former captain Shoaib Malik Saturday returned to Pakistan´s central contract list as 27 players were given handsome increases in payments with win bonuses also restored.
The 33-year-old all-rounder was omitted in the last six-month central contract announced in January this year, but since his return to the team has been included in the ´A´ category after showing good form with the bat.
Malik scored a hundred against Zimbabwe in a one-day series in May this year -- his first three-figure knock in six years -- before showing good form in the one-day and Twenty20 series win in Sri Lanka from July to August.
One-day captain Azhar Ali also received a promotion from the ´B´ to ´A´ category but discarded off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was demoted from ´A´ to ´B´ after he struggled with a remodelled bowling action.
Ajmal was reported for illegal bowling action by match empire during a test match in Sri Lanka in August last year. The ICC suspended Ajmal and he was allowed to play in February this year after remodelling his bowling action.
But he has since lost his bite in bowling and was dropped from the side in May this year.
Besides Malik and Ali, Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez retained their positions in the top category.
The contracts were announced after a two-month deadlock which required negotiations between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and representatives of the players.
"PCB has included 27 players in four categories of the contracts with the remunerations -- both the monthly retainer as well as match fees -- increased across the board along with restoring the win bonuses and performance incentives," said a PCB release.
PCB said a detailed financial formula was agreed for the next three years from July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2018.
Paceman Umar Gul, who was in the ´B´ category in the last contracts, was omitted as he has not played any international match since April this year due to injury.