The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the list of contracted players and also made some modifications to the existing lists for the calender year 2015 and 2016 in Mumbai on Monday.
Compared to the list of contracted players of 2014-2015 (32 players), only 26 players got to sign the new contracts this season.
Most striking change in that list was upgrading Ajinkya Rahane to Grade A from Grade B. Rahane has shown a lot of promise with his willow in the recent past and at the present as well. He always stood up strong whenever India needed him and at the end of it all, the Mumbai-lad was duly rewarded by BCCI.
Team India ODI and T20 skipper MS Dhoni has been retained in the list of Grade A players. The other players who are also in that Grade A list are Test skipper Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Surprisingly, Suresh Raina has been demoted to Grade B from Grade A. BCCI is yet to offer a clarification for this decision.
Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was not present in the contracted list of BCCI in the last season, sneaked into the Grade C category. Singh was recalled in the India squad against South Africa and was an apt replacement for Ashwin when the latter was injured during the limited over series.
For the first time, BCCI have also offered contracts to the women cricketers. They have been divided into two groups Grade A and Grade B. Grade A will receive Rs 15 lakh and Grade B players will be receiving Rs 10 lakh respectively.
The men in the Grade A list will be getting an amount of Rs 1 crore annually from BCCI, whereas the Grade B players will be receiving Rs 50 lakh and finally the Grade C players will be earning a sum of Rs 25 lakh per year from the Board.
Here's the complete list of contracted players:
Grade A (4) (Rs One Crore): Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane.
Grade B (10) (Rs 50 lakhs): Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammad Shami, Suresh Raina.
Grade C (12) (Rs 25 lakhs): Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Stuart Binny, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Varun Aaron, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Lokesh Rahul, Dhawal Kulkarni, Harbhajan Singh, Sreenath Arvind.
Grade A (4) (Rs 15 lakhs): Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, MD Thirushkamini.
Grade B (7) (Rs 10 lakhs): Smriti Mandana, Rajeswari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bist, Veda Krishnamurthy, Niranjana Nagarajan, Poonam Raut.