Indian cricket team skipper and superstar Virat Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma and seamer Jasprit Bumrah are the only cricketers from the Indian team to have bagged the Grade A+ contract in the latest central contract list as announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) .
The big surprise is the elevation of flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant. Seen a potential successor to the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Pant has has been handed a Grade A contract after a brilliant outing in Test cricket in 2018.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have been demoted to Grade A.
Cheteswar Pujara continues to remain in A category despite having a phenomenal 2018. MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav also remain in Grade A category.
Whereas, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul stay in the B category, and have been joined by Umesh Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the list.
The A+ category players are paid a yearly fee of Rs 7 crore, while A category players get Rs 5 crore. Whereas Grade B and C category players are given a fee of Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.
The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Wriddhiman Saha and Khaleel Ahmed have been awarded Grade C contract. Whereas Murali Vijay, who was dropped from the Test side following some poor outings with the bat, misses out on a contract for the 2018-19 season.
In Women’s cricket, Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur have been awarded Grade A contract by the BCCI. The likes of Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shikha Pandey and Ekta Bisht have been named in the Grade B list.
Grade A players will bag Rs 50 lakhs as yearly retainer fee while Grade B players are paid Rs 30 lakhs in Women’s cricket.
Grade A+ (Rs 7 Cr): Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Grade A (Rs 5 Cr): R Ashwin, Ra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant
Grade B (Rs 3 Cr): KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya
Grade C (Rs 1 Cr): Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed, Wriddhiman Saha
Grade A (Rs 50 Lakhs): Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam yadav
Grade B (Rs 30 Lakhs): Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues
Grade C (Rs 10 Lakhs): Radha Yadav, D Hemalatha, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut, Mona Meshram, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Taniya Bhatia, Pooja Vastrakar