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Pakistan's top cricketers get huge pay rise with new contracts

Pakistan's top cricketers have agreed to new central contracts that will see some of them get 200 percent pay rises, the national board confirmed on Wednesday, just before the World Cup begins in India.

The deal comes after four months of deadlock between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and players, and for the first time will see them get a share of the country's payout from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

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"PCB has successfully negotiated a three-year central contact deal with its senior players that will run from July 1 2023 to June 30, 2026 in which 25 cricketers will be offered a deal," the board said in a statement.

According to the agreement, players will be divided into four categories with skipper Babar Azam, star batter Mohammad Rizwan and spearhead bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi in the top flight.

Local media reported in August that they will be earning around 4.5 million Pakistan rupees (around $15,500) a month under the new deal -- a 200 percent raise from contracts that expired in June.

Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan are placed in category B with a reported salary of three million rupees, while Imad Wasim and Abdullah Shafique are in category C on 1.5 million rupees.

Category D players -- Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Saim Ayub, Agha Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Saud Shakeel, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Usama Mir and Zaman Khan -- will be on 750,000 rupees a month.

The PCB said player match fees will also be hiked by 50 percent for Tests, 25 percent for one-day internationals and 12.5 percent for Twenty20 matches.

Pakistan is one of the top teams taking part in the World Cup in India beginning on October 5.