The Pakistan Cricket Board have decided not to renew Shoaib Akhtar's central contract.
Shoaib, 32, has paid the price for fitness and discipline problems during the last 12 months.
Fellow fast bowler Mohammad Sami and opening batsman Imran Nazir have also lost their central contracts.
PCB chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf offered the axed trio hope by saying the national team will not exclusively be drawn from the list of contracted players.
"The players not given central contracts have been given special retainers and if they show commitment and form they can come back into the team after a year," he said.
"We want it to be an elite contract. So that players fight and compete to get the contracts.
"It should also serve as an incentive for younger players.
"Not being in the central contracts list does not mean you cannot be selected for the national team. Selectors can consider any player."
There are three categories of central contracts, introduced by the PCB in 2005, with a total of 15 players handed deals.
The main beneficiary of the shake-up is batsman Misbah-ul-Haq, who has been promoted to the A category and appointed vice-captain until the end of 2008.
Pakistan central contracts:
Category A: Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Yousuf
Category B: Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi, Salman Butt, Umar Gul
Category C: Abdul Rehman, Yasir Arafat, Rao Iftikhar, Danish Kaneria, Fawad Alam