The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced "improved" contracts for 10 of its elite women cricketers, reducing the amount of centrally contracted players from 17 in the previous year.
The limited number of professional players in the country seems to have driven the PCB to make this decision as they have focused on enlarging remuneration for retained cricketers.
The PCB has awarded lucrative central contracts to female players which will be in effect on July 1 and are expected to last 12 months as opposed to the six-month deals that were set before.
Recognizing their performances on merit, the PCB has categorized the top 10 women cricketers in the country into three groups.
Category A includes Nida Dar and Sana Mir while Category B consists of Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Wadood, Nashra Sandhu, Sidra Ameen and Sidra Nawaz. Category C comprises of Diana Baig and Nahida Khan.
All categories have experienced a significant increase in salaries with Category A seeing a 20 percent increase, Category B witnessing an 18.5 percent rise in remuneration while there is an 18 percent increase in Category C.
The daily allowance for training camps for cricketers has been doubled to PKR 2,000 and daily allowances for foreign tours has been risen by 50 percent.
Moreover, the cricket board has ensured business class flights for all players on international travel exceeding five hours.
Women's domestic tournaments will see expanded investment by the PCB as they have initiated a match fee of PKR10,000 for each game for all participating cricketers.
This will encourage the upcoming generation of female cricketers to view making a career out of playing cricket professionally as a viable source of income and stability.
These paramount changes in policies have been introduced in women's cricket for the first time as a gesture of appreciation for the team's impressive performances against West Indies and South Africa recently.
PCB Managing Director, Wasim Khan, said: “The PCB is pleased to announce the upgraded and enhanced central contracts to our women cricketers for the next 12 months, which reflect the value, respect and importance we place in our women international cricketers.
“The enhanced new central contracts form a key part of the vision to enhance the profile of women’s cricket and our aim to strive towards a fairer system.
"As a responsible and professional organisation, we remain committed to investing in the growth and development of women’s cricket. We want to strengthen the women’s and girls’ game at all levels so that our national team can continue to go from strength to strength”.
Meanwhile, head of the women's selection committee, Urooj Mumtaz claimed: “The announcement of the new central contracts is a great story for the women’s game in Pakistan and indicates the exciting times that lies ahead for cricketers in the country.
“The women cricketers have shown tremendous improvement recently and this is reflected in the central contracts being offered to them, which are reward and incentive-based. With more international cricket scheduled over the coming months, this will motivate the girls to continue to perform strongly.
“Apart from the enhanced central contracts, we have also introduced incentives for the players in domestic cricket, who will now earn PKR 10,000 per match. This is a small step in making women’s cricket more professional and inspiring young women cricketers to take up the sport with a realistic opportunity to represent the country.”
As a consequence of Pakistan women's side making progress of late, they have soared up to the fifth position on the ICC Women's Championship, just one spot away from acquiring a direct qualification into the ICC Women's World Cup 2021 to be hosted in New Zealand.
The Pakistan women's team will also be in action at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Australia next year.