Top cricketers, including captain Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan, have agreed to sign the Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) amended central contracts after a week of stand-off between them and the board.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, the group of players signed the dotted lines before departing for the Netherlands tour on the condition that they will once again hold discussions over a couple of other clauses in the contract with the board post the Asia Cup in September.
The senior players have expressed reservations about a few aspects of the contracts.
"These range from questions around the NOC process for participation in foreign leagues, to seeking more information about image rights in ICC events and shares from participation fees at ICC events and clauses around signing individual endorsements," the report said.
The PCB announced 33 central contracts this season, splitting between white and red-ball players for the first time from 2022-23.
As per the board's standard practice, while the copies of the contract were handed to the players at the start of the pre-tour camp in Lahore, many of the players belonging to the lower categories signed the dotted lines but the senior stars did not sign immediately.
Apart from Babar, Afridi, and Rizwan, the group also included Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali. The players sought more time as they wanted to discuss the nitty-gritty of the contracts with their advisers and lawyers, given there is no players body in the country.
In the past, Pakistan cricketers rarely disputed any aspect of their central contracts signed and returned their them straightaway. Historically, the Pakistan board also never formally negotiated with the cricketers while framing contracts on their part.
Therefore, this new development could be seen as some sort of a marker of sorts in the equation between the board and the cricketers.
According to the central contracts, the monthly retainer amounts and match fees were not among the points of contention. All players will receive match fees of Rs. 838,530 PKR (approx. US$3800) for a Test, Rs. 515,696 PKR for an ODI (approx. US$2300) and PKR 372,075 (approx. US$1700) for a T20I.
On the other hand, the retainer for a top Pakistan red-ball contract is PKR 1,050,000 per month (approx. US$4700) and PKR 950,000 (approx. US$4300) for a corresponding white-ball contract.