Rishabh Pant's spectacular rise in international cricket over the last 8-10 months has seen him bag the lucrative BCCI contract - he has now been placed in Category A for the 2018-19 season, which carries a retainer worth Rs 5 crore. These contracts run from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019, were given the nod of approval by the Committee of Administrators, the supervisory authority of BCCI, on Thursday in Delhi.
In another big development, the A+ category, worth Rs 7 crore and which earlier had seven players, has been trimmed down to three. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have been dropped to the A category. The three players who remain seated in the A+ category are captain Virat Kohli, ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, who has emerged as India's leading pace bowler across all formats.
Three players have also been promoted from grade B to A and hence, the A grade now has 11 players this year - fast bowlers of Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami, along with wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav are now in the A bracket. Wriddhiman Saha, who was earlier in the A bracket has been shunted down to Grade C as injuries ravaged his year last year and he has only recently started playing.
There were plenty of new faces in the C grade - Ambati Rayudu, Hanuma Vihari and Khaleel Ahmed. Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel and Jayant Yadav have all been axed from this grade.
Murali Vijay, who was dropped in England and then subsequently in Australia, is no longer with any contract as he was dropped from all of the above grades. The two notable omissions from the list are Prithvi Shaw and Vijay Shankar, both of whom have made a good start to their respective international careers.
The list of contracts
- Grade A+ (Rs 7 crore): Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
- Grade A (Rs 5 crore): R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant
- Grade B (Rs 3 crore): KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya
- Grade C (Rs 1 crore): Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed, Wriddhiman Saha
- NEW FACES: Rishabh Pant, Ambati Rayudu, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed
- OUT OF CONTRACT: Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, M Vijay