BCCI released the list of players under the central contract on March 7 and the gradation of the various players in the different categories has raised a few eyebrows. On a recent show aired by Cricbuzz, former Zaheer Khan questioned the transparency of the entire system.

These contracts run from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2019, and were given the nod of approval by the Committee of Administrators which is the supervisory authority of the BCCI at the moment.

The big talking points of the list include the omission of established veterans like Murali Vijay and the meteoric rise of Rishabh Pant. The 21-year-old has been offered the Grade A contract which will see him earn Rs 5 crore in the aforementioned period. Shikhar Dhawan also moved down to Grade A and that is perhaps because he is not a regular part of India's test side any longer.

A policeman walks past a logo of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) during a governing council meeting of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at BCCI headquarters in Mumbai April 26, 2010.
BCCI bans five players for their involvement in the spot-fixing scandal during IPL season 5.REUTERS/Arko Datta

"Moving from one category to another is fine. We are sitting in March right now and the contract term is from October to September 2019. There has to be some kind of transparency or you change the date of the contract; because if someone has performed well in the last six months, obviously as selectors you will get influenced," Zaheer questioned the timing of the contract announcement based on the charm of recency

"That [influence of recent performances] is something which I am seeing here. I don't want to name it because all these categories and gradation and all that, you don't have to get into it. But there are certain players who have missed out as well. There has to be some logic that has to be transparent for everyone and more importantly for the players," Zaheer added. He was referring to Murali Vijay and said that if this contract was announced from the time it came into effect, the opening batsman would be under BCCI's payroll because he was a part of India's squad then.

Zaheer went on to add how it is important for the players to know how they can progress to a higher gradation. "As viewers, you can look at the list and say this guy has gone up or that guy has gone down but the players need to understand what is it going to take for me to go from [Grade] C to [Grade] A+. That's something I am not sure has been established as yet."

He also said that the timing and lack of transparency are leading to a lack of motivation amongst the players. "You don't know when the contract term is starting or whether you will get a contract. If more than half the year is done, then what are you creating in terms of incentives for the players. How am I going to motivate myself from C category to A+ or from any category to another?"

Rishabh Pant
Pant will earn Rs 5 crore from October 2018 to September 2019.Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Full list of contracted players 

  • 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