Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hardik Pandya and Wriddhiman Saha were downgraded in the latest BCCI central contracts ratified by the board’s Apex Council on Wednesday.
The BCCI has four categories – A+ with an annual fee of Rs 7 crore, while categories A, B and C are rated at Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.
Last time 28 cricketers were awarded central contracts but this year 27 contracts were awarded with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah Static as A+ players.
Accordingly, Pujara, Rahane and Ishant Sharma, who were in Tier A, are now in Tier B after being dropped from the forthcoming series of home tests against Sri Lanka due to a slump in form.
They were downgraded as reported by PTI on January 20th.
Group A, which used to have 10 players, has now shrunk to five, with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami retaining their places.
The biggest demotion, however, was for injury-plagued all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was moved from Class A to C in the roster, along with senior opener Shikhar Dhawan, who now only plays one format and that’s ODIs.
Controversial keeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha, who was dropped from the Test team, will still be Rs 1 crore richer following his demotion from Group B to C.
Saha, who breached the central clause of the contract through public comments on selection matters and statements about BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and head coach Rahul Dravid, has been kept in Group C, although team management have clarified that he is unlikely to play for India again.
The day the ratification took place, it was decided long ago that some of the non-performers would be demoted.
Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Pacer Navdeep Saini, who were part of the former group, have been removed from the list entirely.
Mayank Agarwal, who was consistently volatile, has now been demoted from Group B to Group C.
Those who have been rewarded are Mohammed Siraj, who is now in Group B for his lion-hearted performances, while Suryakumar Yadav is now in Group C due to the number of games required.
Deepti, Rajeshwari promoted among women
In the women’s central contracts, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad joined Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav who were already in Group A, which has an annual fee of Rs 50 lakh.
Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami remain in Group B (Rs 30 lakh). The trio of Jemimah Rodrigues, Shikha Pandey and Punam Raut, who failed to make the ODI World Cup squad, were demoted from Group B to C (Rs 10 lakh).