Sana Mir, Javeria Khan, Bismah Mahroof and Nahida Khan were retained in the 'A' category. Getty

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday awarded central contracts to 17 female cricketers for the first half of 2019 after following an appraisal process in which the performances in the last six months of the previous year were taken into consideration. The appraisal process was done by a four-member committee comprising Haroon Rashid (Director - Cricket Operations), Jalaluddin (Chair of the Selection Committee), Mark Coles (Head coach - Pakistan women's cricket team) and Asmavia Iqbal (Member - Pakistan women's selection committee). According to the board, the contracts were awarded after the settlement of all outstanding payments from July-December 2018 period.

Top-ranked bowler Sana Mir and Pakistan's highest ranked batter (24th in the ICC rankings) Javeria Khan were retained in the 'A' category along with captain Bismah Mahroof and Nahida Khan.

"It is always a matter of pride to be handed a central contract. I am sure our players are happy and looking forward to doing their best in the coming months. Our aim being to build a fine team and bench-strength, these contracts certainly contribute to that purpose," Maroof said.

Fareeha Mehmood, Ghulam Fatima, Maham Tariq, and Rameen Shamin lost their contracts while 21-year-old top-order batter Omaima Sohail, who made her ODI debut in October 2018, was the only new face in the contract list. Sidra Amin and Aliya Riaz were promoted from 'D' and 'E' categories while Muneeba Ali Siddique slipped from 'C' to 'D'.

"I know the four players who have not been awarded contracts will be disappointed, but the new contracts are related to performances. I am confident that these players will continue to work harder to reclaim their places in the contract list," said Rashid. "The new contracts are more competitive and further incentivize the top performing players. This is part of the PCB's strategy to encourage and promote women's cricket. The PCB will continue to invest in women's cricket as we aspire to be one of the top and consistent performing sides."

Pakistan, ranked seventh in both one-day and T20I rankings, will take on Windies and Bangladesh at home and South Africa in an away series in the ICC Women's Championship till July 31, 2019 - the date when the contracts expire.