Pakistan duo Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have lost their central contracts for the 2019-20 international campaign.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday announced the list of centrally contracted players has been reduced from 33 to 19.

Batsman Babar Azam, captain Sarfraz Ahmed and spinner Yasir Shah are the only three to be given a top-level Category A deal.

Shoaib and Hafeez were overlooked a day after it was announced head coach Mickey Arthur would depart his role along with bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, batting coach Grant Flower and trainer Grant Luden.

Experienced all-rounders Shoaib and Hafeez will still be available for selection in a new era for Pakistan.

PCB managing director Wasim Khan said: "I want to congratulate all those who have been offered central contracts for the next season.

"We have significantly increased the financial value of the 2019-20 retainers across each category. This is over and above what had been agreed in the current agreement, which is due to run until 2021.

"The PCB have set high standards and targets in its strategic plan for the upcoming season. We want to attach a high value to receiving a central contract. We have complete faith and confidence that these players will set up and produce on-field performances that will help us collectively achieve our objectives and targets."

The contracts run from August 1 2019 to June 30 2020, the PCB said, with Pakistan playing Tests and limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh in that period.


Pakistan's centrally contracted players for 2019-20:

Category A – Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah

Category B – Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Abbas, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz

Category C – Abid Ali, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Usman Shinwari

Inzamam-ul-Haq says it would have been "foolish" to have omitted Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Amir from Pakistan's Cricket World Cup squad after a "lack of potency" shown in the series defeat to England.

Wahab has not played a one-day international for almost two years, but was on Monday named in the final 15-man squad along with fellow left-arm quick Amir - who has recovered from chickenpox.

Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf will miss the tournament in England and Wales along with spinner Yasir Shah, while batsman Asif Ali was preferred to Abid Ali.

Having learned of his omission, Junaid uploaded an image on Twitter of himself with tape over his mouth alongside the caption: "I don't want to say anything. Truth is bitter."

Pakistan chairman of selectors Inzamam says a combination of Junaid and Ashraf's performances in a 4-0 ODI series loss to England and flat pitches led to the alternations.

"Junaid and Faheem had been originally preferred over a few other bowlers based on their recent performances and the investment we had made on them since 2017," said Inzamam.

"They had the opportunity to cement their World Cup spots, but they were well below-par in the series against England even though they were up against the difficult challenge of bowling on placid and batsmen-friendly wickets.

"After it became obvious that the bat is likely to dominate the ball in the World Cup, we revisited our strategy and reverted to the pace of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

"Furthermore, Amir and Wahab give the fast bowling attack more experience to back and support the relatively inexperienced but immensely talent Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain."

He added: "The lack of potency of our frontline bowlers in the recent ODI series against England meant that a change was needed. In addition, we now know that we will encounter batting wickets throughout the World Cup campaign. 

“The combination of both these elements meant that we believed that right now, utilising the World Cup experience and knowledge of Wahab was the correct choice.

"Wahab has been training and playing club cricket, and the player of his calibre will not face much problem in adapting and adjusting to the gruelling demands of the World Cup. In addition, playing in the World Cup warm-up matches, bowling his quota, will have him match-ready.

"The bowling unit during the England ODIs has not clicked as anticipated or expected; if we have at our disposal the vastly experienced pace duo of Amir and Wahab, then it will be foolish not to include them."

Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali have been included in Pakistan's Cricket World Cup squad.

Abid Ali, Junaid Khan and Faheem Ashraf were omitted along with Yasir Shah when the final 15-man party was named on Monday.

It is almost two years since Wahab featured in a one-day international, but the left-arm paceman has been given the nod for the tournament in England and Wales.

Amir, outstanding in Pakistan's ICC Champions Trophy triumph two years ago, was left out of the initial squad, but it was no surprise that he made the cut after recovering from chickenpox.

Batsman Asif was named in the squad a matter of hours after it was announced that his daughter had lost her battle with cancer.

Pakistan suffered a 4-0 ODI series defeat to England after losing by 54 runs at Headingley on Sunday.

Sarfraz Ahmed's side start their World Cup campaign against West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31 following warm-up games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.


Pakistan squad:

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan have brought Yasir Shah into their squad for the upcoming Twenty20 and ODI matches against England after Shadab Khan was ruled out with a virus.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Sunday that leg-spinner Shadab would require rest for at least four weeks, with the one-off T20 versus England to take place in Cardiff on May 5 before five ODIs.

It remains to be seen if Shadab will recover in time for the start of the Cricket World Cup, with Pakistan set to get their campaign under way against West Indies on May 31.

Yasir, a like-for-like replacement for Shadab, was not included in Pakistan's 15-man squad announced earlier this week but the PCB, like all participating countries, has until May 23 to make any necessary changes to that World Cup selection.

Asif Ali and Mohammad Amir, not part of the original party, have been added as additional players.

Pakistan are waiting to discover the extent of a knee injury suffered by spinner Yasir Shah.

Sarfraz Ahmed believes Yasir Shah could prove crucial in swinging the three-Test series with South Africa in Pakistan's favour.

Following a surprise 2-1 loss to New Zealand in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan take on the Proteas over the next three weeks, starting at Centurion on Boxing Day.

South Africa were last in action in July, going down to two heavy defeats in Sri Lanka, and Sarfraz is hoping it will be trial by spin once again for Faf du Plessis' side.

Yasir became the fastest man to 200 Test wickets during the New Zealand series and Sarfraz has tipped the leg-spinner to be a key figure once more.

"All foreign teams struggle there [Sri Lanka], just like all Asian teams come to South Africa and struggle here," he said.

"Here, the conditions are different but we do have a world-class spinner. He took 200 wickets in 33 Tests and we know South Africa haven't played a top-quality leg-spinner in three years.

"So we have an advantage, we have Yasir Shah, and hopefully they will struggle against him."

Sarfraz's opposite number Du Plessis, meanwhile, believes the performances of South Africa's struggling batsmen - who were bowled out for under 130 three times in Sri Lanka - will be crucial to any success.

"He [Hashim Amla] has not scored the amount of runs he's wanted to in the last year, but it's a new season, he's coming off a fifty," Du Plessis said.

"It will be important for him to get off to a good start in the series, to settle the nerves and be confident.

"These things are a battle within yourself as a player, you must make sure you fight whatever you need to fight, and get over what you what need to get over in your head.

"The two sides have tremendous bowling attacks, both in good form. Our success in this series will be the form of the batters. Hopefully we get two or three guys who have a good series,"

New Zealand completed an away series win over Pakistan for the first time since 1969 after a dominant 123-run success in the third Test in Abu Dhabi.

The Black Caps have not always fared well in Asia, their last series win on the continent coming in 2008, but they took control of the decisive final match on day four and declared on 353-7 the next morning as Henry Nicholls' unbeaten 126 helped set Pakistan a target of 280.

A successful chase never looked remotely likely and New Zealand soon set about ensuring Pakistan would not be able to bat out the day.

Tim Southee (3-42) and William Somerville (3-52) were in rampant form as it quickly became clear that captain Kane Williamson's call to go after victory would pay off, with only Babar Azam (51) offering any real resistance as he reached 1000 Test runs.

Pakistan were bowled for 156 and have little time to reflect on a disappointing series defeat, with a tour of South Africa beginning this month.

Hasan Ali had struck with the first ball of the day, trapping Williamson (139) lbw to end his partnership with Nicholls at 212, yet the morning then threatened to get away from Pakistan.

Nicholls combined with Colin de Grandhomme (26) for 62, soon reaching his century as the pair plundered regular boundaries and propelled New Zealand past 300.

Yasir Shah (4-129) - a record-breaker in this match as he became the fastest bowler to 200 Test wickets - intervened and took out De Grandhomme and BJ Watling (0) from consecutive balls, but Southee (15 not out) came in to stave off the hat-trick.

He then added another six before Williamson, whose slowing run rate on Thursday appeared to set up a draw, went for broke and declared with a lead of 279.

Pakistan were soon struggling with the bat and Southee wiped out Mohammad Hafeez's off stump to cut short the batsman's final Test innings at eight runs, before De Grandhomme tempted an edge from Azhar Ali (5).

Somerville was next to come to the fore in a destructive two-wicket maiden over. Ross Taylor clung on from Haris Sohail (9) and then Asad Shafiq (0) gloved behind next ball, awarded following a review.

A further video replay saved Babar from becoming Somerville's next victim, but the pressure continued to build before lunch and Imam-ul-Haq (22) fell to Ajaz Patel.

There was some improvement from Pakistan in the second session until Sommerville crashed through Sarfraz Ahmed (28) and, although Babar held firm, Yasir (4) tamely chipped Southee to cover.

Babar reached 50 and was then dropped by Taylor, but Southee made no mistake as he plucked a dropping ball out of the air to put New Zealand on the brink, before Hasan (4) picked out Williamson for the final dismissal.

Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls combined to give New Zealand a surely pivotal 198-run lead over Pakistan after Yasir Shah's record-breaking turn on the fourth day of the third Test.

The Black Caps began the day on 26-2, trailing Pakistan by 48 runs, but they came through an action-packed first session on Thursday to close on 272-4 and keep their hopes of a series win alive in the decisive final match.

History was made in a frantic morning as Yasir (2-107) brought up his 200th Test wicket in record time - 33 matches - bowling to William Somerville, seemingly leaving New Zealand deep in trouble.

But Pakistan's progress slowed with a spate of frustrating reviews and Williamson (139 not out) and Nicholls (90 no) battled through to lunch before kicking on in Abu Dhabi.

Even with that sublime unbeaten partnership of 212, there remains plenty of work for New Zealand to do to win on the final day, as all 10 Pakistan wickets must fall, but what appeared a probable defeat now looks to have been averted.

Yasir made his breakthrough early as he removed Somerville (4) lbw, reaching the landmark double-century of Test wickets in three matches fewer than previous record-holder Clarrie Grimmett.

And even the arrival of the destructive Ross Taylor (22) could not initially wrestle back control from Pakistan as the big-hitting batsman fell into a trap set by Shaheen Afridi, picking out Bilal Asif at deep square leg.

That brought Williamson and Nicholls together and New Zealand belatedly showed some resilience.

Nicholls clung to his wicket in spectacular fashion, surviving one review as he appeared to have edged behind, dodging another that would have seen him out lbw to Yasir and then using one of his own to escape once more.

That nervy start gave way to some more assured batting and the tone was set for the rest of the day. Pakistan struggled to get to grips with an effective partnership and Williamson drove a pair of fours off Hasan Ali to bring up his century.

A couple of tough Yasir drops ensured the Black Caps had complete control by tea, although some smart fielding subsequently kept the scoring down for a time before a new ball became available.

However, Sarfraz Ahmed bizarrely opted not to take the ball and instead watched his bowlers spend the last hour toiling in front of the determined batsmen.

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has become the fastest bowler to 200 Test wickets.

Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah has made Test cricket history by becoming the fastest man to reach 200 wickets.

Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif made New Zealand toil either side of Kane Williamson's resistance as Pakistan had the better of day one of the crucial third Test in Abu Dhabi.

Leg-spinner Yasir finished with match figures of 14-184, the second best ever by a Pakistan bowler, in the series-levelling innings-and-16-runs battering in Dubai and was tormentor-in-chief in Monday's morning session.

Yasir (3-62) took three wickets as New Zealand stumbled their way to 73-4 by lunch, meaning he needs just two more to become the fastest bowler to 200 Test wickets, before Williamson played a captain's innings with a measured 89 as part of a century stand with BJ Watling (42 not out) lasting until after tea.

But Hasan Ali (1-46) claimed the crucial scalp of Williamson and Bilal (2-57) did further damage to New Zealand's order as the designated tourists closed on a precarious 229-7.

Pakistan handed a debut to left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi, who claimed a first Test wicket in his third over as Tom Latham (4) was trapped in front and the hosts successfully overturned the not-out decision on review.

Jeet Raval (45) and Williamson added 46 before Yasir struck twice in as many balls - pinning the opener in front and then getting one to scoot low through Ross Taylor's defences.

Henry Nicholls (1) perished soon after, playing on from an attempted sweep, but Watling was given a life on nine when short-leg put down a sharp chance from Bilal's bowling.

A textbook display of defence followed in the afternoon session, with Williamson and Watling gritting their way through the 32 overs, adding 72 runs as the scoring rate dropped and New Zealand stabilised.

Watling made just 14 of those from 98 balls, but his stoic concentration allowed Williamson to start picking his spots and build a half-century.

But Pakistan made the crucial breakthrough after tea when Williamson whipped a fuller Hasan delivery to a joyous Asad Shafiq at short midwicket.

Bilal then struck twice in quick succession, Colin de Grandhomme – having just avoided a stumping the previous ball – clipped one to the sharp hands of Asad at leg slip, before Tim Southee (2) top-edged to short-fine leg.

New Zealand debutant William Somerville (12no) overturned a leg-before decision to deny Bilal a third wicket, and he stayed firm with Watling until the close.

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur believes Yasir Shah will continue to improve after his match-winning haul in the second Test against New Zealand.

The leg-spinner took 8-41 in the first innings and 6-143 in the second as the home side secured victory by an innings and 16 runs to level the three-match series ahead of next week's decider in Abu Dhabi.

Yasir's 14 wickets in the match were a joint record among Pakistan bowlers, alongside legendary all-rounder Imran Khan, and included a devastating spell either side of lunch on the third day which saw the Black Caps capitulate from 50-0 to 90 all out.

"It was fantastic, superb to watch. He got nice rhythm and we knew he had a big performance inside him," Arthur told a news conference after Pakistan wrapped up the win on day four in Dubai.

"There was that spell of half an hour that was some of the best leg-spin bowling you'll ever see.

"Drift, pace, spin, it was phenomenal...14 wickets in a Test is superb. He's very comfortable mentally and he knows what an important cog he is in our Test line-up."

Yasir's performance was especially impressive given it came only a few weeks after his mother had passed away.

"The thing for us is we felt Yasir started bowling really well in the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi [in October] then he had a break, he didn't see us for two to three weeks while we were in the T20s and ODIs," added Arthur.

"Obviously he had a tragedy during that time as well which was very sad. Coming back, we had to get him up into that rhythm again.

"This is the best rhythm I've seen him have and I think he'll get better and better from here.

"That's key for us as a coaching staff, is keeping those players going all the time. Because when they leave us and they're inactive for a period it always takes us some time to get them back up to where they need to be again.

"It was really good to see Yasir get back into that rhythm today and hopefully he takes that forward to Abu Dhabi."

Pakistan have named an unchanged 15-man squad for the third and final match in the series, which gets under way on Monday.

Sarfraz Ahmed lauded Yasir Shah's spell of bowling in Pakistan's dominant defeat of New Zealand as the best he has seen in his Test career.

Yasir Shah ended the second Test with 14 wickets as Pakistan coasted to victory by an innings and 16 runs despite an improved performance from New Zealand on the fourth day.

Yasir Shah took 10 wickets on day three of the second Test in a sensational display as New Zealand spectacularly crumbled against Pakistan.

Sarfraz Ahmed's decision to declare on 418-5 a day previously initially appeared an odd one, especially when the tourists made serene progress to 50-0 in Monday's morning session in Dubai.

But Jeet Raval's unlucky dismissal to Yasir for 31 sparked a monumental first-innings collapse with 10 wickets falling for just 40 runs as the Black Caps were bundled out for 90, their lowest total under Kane Williamson's captaincy.

The highlight of Yasir's exquisite spell came with a triple-wicket maiden in which Tom Latham (22), Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls all fell as the leg-spinner finished with first-innings figures of 8-41 – the third best in Pakistan history.

New Zealand equalled the record for most ducks in an innings with six, and Yasir snared a couple more victims after Williamson's men were forced to follow on before they finally showed some resistance to reach 131-2 at stumps.

Raval was unfortunate to see the ball deflect off his thigh and the back of his bat before striking his stumps, but Latham succumbed to Yasir's turn and bounce to pop one to short leg.

An unplayable beauty from Yasir turned past Taylor's outside edge and crashed into the stumps, before Nicholls was sent hastily back in similar fashion.

BJ Watling (1) was run out via an unfortunate ricochet off Yasir, although the decision to call for a run was a poor one, and Colin de Grandhomme was trapped lbw by Hasan Ali without scoring.

Williamson (28 not out) could do little about the carnage at the other end as numbers four to 11 added just five runs, Yasir sweeping up the remaining four wickets in the space of only nine balls.

A repeat appeared on the cards when New Zealand were inevitably put back into bat, with Raval (2) drawn forward by Yasir and stumped by Sarfraz, who also took the catch to claim the big wicket of Williamson (30) after a review.

Latham (44no) and Taylor (49no) were unbeaten in a stand of 65 by the close of play, with New Zealand - who won the first Test in the three-match series thanks to a similarly dramatic Pakistan collapse - still 197 runs in arrears.

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