Kolkata: There’s no stopping Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara both from Saurashtra. After their scintillating performances in the recently concluded third Test between India and Australia, all-rounder Jadeja and middle-order batsman Pujara have been awarded Grade A contracts by the BCCI for the 2017-2018 season. The annual retainer amounts too have been doubled for all the categories as of now. A Grade A player would receive a whopping Rs 2 crore per annum while a Grade B player would get Rs 1 crore per annum. A Grade C player would get Rs 50 lakh per annum.
Indian players have also had a hike in match fees as well which would be effective from October 1, 2016 with Rs 15 lakh per Test match, Rs 6 lakh per ODI and Rs 3 lakh per T20 International. This comes right after a day when Jadeja became the sole owner of the top spot in the ICC Test Bowlers’ rankings after his compatriot Ravichandran Ashwin dropped to number two and Pujara, became the second ranked Test batsman after Australian Steven Smith. Opener Murali Vijay, who scored a solid 82 in the third Test against Australia has also been awarded with a Grade A contract.
A meeting held earlier in the day by the Committee of Administrators (COA) to decide the annual player contracts resulted in the inclusion of the three who now join Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane in Grade A. The contracts of these players end on the September 30, this year. Kohli had informed the BCCI last October that the players wanted a revision of their central contracts. Also, the star batsman had a meeting with the COA head Vinod Rai after the second Test against Australia to discuss this issue. This topic was also bought up in various meetings among the COA, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Game Development Manager MV Sridhar.
Veterans like Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra have secured Grade B and Grade C contracts for themselves respectively, but Suresh Raina has lost his contract with the board. Raina had been a crucial part of India’s limited overs outfit recently and his absence from the contracted 32-member team is nothing but shocking as the southpaw has played after October 1, 2016, the date from which these contracts are said to come into effect.
Prodigious wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant bags a Grade C contract as KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha retain their places in Grade B. Pacers Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma too are in the same bracket of players.
The full list:
Grade A: Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay.
Grade B: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Sami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuvraj Singh
Grade C: Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayadu, Amit Mishra, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Ashish Nehra, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Jayant Yadav, Mandeep Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant
(With inputs from Agencies)