ISLAMABAD: Pakistan women’s centrally-contracted players have not been paid their monthly retainers for more than six months, living off match fees and expenses as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) goes through a change in leadership. Twenty players were centrally contracted with the PCB through the first half of the year (women’s contracts are on a six-month basis) and 20 again are expected to receive them for the second half of the year. But because of changes in the board administration in recent months, an agreement was reached with the players that the new contracts would be ready to sign when they return from the Caribbean after the ongoing Women’s World T20. The new contracts are more stringently performance and fitness-based. Each member of the squad also receives monthly salaries from their domestic sides — department teams such as ZTBL and State Bank — but during their recent tours of Bangladesh and Malaysia, and now the WWT20, they were receiving only match fees their and $75 daily expense allowances. During the month-long camp heading into the tournament, they received $50 as a daily allowance. The main reason for the delay appears to be administrative, the implementation of a new, revised contract system the collateral damage as Najam Sethi’s PCB gave way to Ehsan Mani’s. It is understood that the contract payments for the period July-December 2018 are the ones delayed because they could not be signed off on before the team left for Bangladesh. Former captain Bismah Maroof met with the PCB selection committee to discuss the delay and it was agreed that players would be paid the outstanding six-and-a-half month’s salaries as well as their new contracts upon their return from the Caribbean. Their match fees will also be paid out, as is the custom, at the end of the tour. The delay brings into focus a recent FICA report on the health of the women’s game. The report found that the sport’s growth has been held back by “the pervading culture of insecurity” that exists within the women’s game, and calls for minimum standards to be enforced in terms of playing opportunities, employment contracts, travel and accommodation. FICA’s research found that the global number of fully professional female players is currently “no more than 120”, and that only Australia and increasingly England are in a position to offer professional cricket as a genuine career choice for women. With just one win against Ireland from their three group games, Pakistan will not progress to the semi-finals in Antigua. Published in Daily Times, November 18th 2018.