The Board of Control for Cricket in India recently announced the Annual Player Contracts for the Men’s National Team for the period ranging from October 2020 to September 2021.
According to the BCCI press release, there are four categories of central contracts on the basis of which the players’ payment structures are decided: Grade A+ contract players earn INR 7 crores, Grade A contract players earn INR 5 crores, Grade B contract players earn INR 3 crores and Grade C category players earn INR 1 crore for the period between October and September of the following year.
This time around, a total of 28 cricketers were awarded BCCIs’ Annual Central Contracts which saw several new additions.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, limited overs vice captain Rohit Sharma and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah are the only three players who were retained in the A+ Category Contract. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are three of the most important players for Team India across all three formats of the sport and their A+ contract makes perfect sense on paper.
In the Grade A category, Hardik Pandya is the latest addition. He had a Grade B contract with BCCI last year and despite not being able to bowl for most of last year because of a back injury, he has been promoted to the Grade A category where he’ll earn INR 5 crores.
“Hardik is very much in line to play Test matches in England and he will be one of the most important players after our A+ cricketers when we play the T20 World Cup. So Hardik’s promotion is about what he brings to the team. That’s what the selectors have factored in,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
Joining Hardik Pandya in the Grade A category are Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma and young sensation Rishabh Pant.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been demoted from his Grade A contract to Grade B this year. This arrives on the back of his extended absences and consistent injuries. Bhuvi only recently made a comeback from injury during the series against England.
Shardul Thakur who impressed heavily during the tour of Australia and against England has been promoted from a Grade C contract to a Grade B contract which will see him earning INR 3 crores.
Joining them in the Grade B category are Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav and Mayank Agarwal. Kuldeep Yadav has been demoted from Grade A to Grade C because of his terrible form in the last few months. The senior BCCI official also revealed that Kuldeep Yadav should consider himself lucky that he has managed to retain himself a BCCI central contract. Wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has also been demoted from Grade B to Grade C this year.
Rookies Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj also received their maiden BCCI central contracts courtesy of their fabulous performances in Australia. Axar Patel picked up 27 wickets against England and has earned himself a Grade C contract as well.
Joining them in this category are Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar.