Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara and M Vijay, India’s Test stars who have been integral to the team’s rise to No.1 in the format, have earned promotions from Grade B to the top Grade A contracts for 2016-17 announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The three join Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni in the elite group of players, who, with their annual retainers being doubled, will earn Rs 2 crore for the year.
A total of 32 players, categorised under three different grades, were awarded central contracts which is effective from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017.
KL Rahul and Wriddhiman Saha moved up to Grade B, where Jasprit Bumrah made an entry and Yuvraj Singh returned after missing out last year. Suresh Raina, who was in Grade B, was the most prominent name to be out of contention altogether, while Ambati Rayudu and the struggling Shikhar Dhawan dropped down to the last grade.
Stuart Binny, Mohit Sharma, Karn Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Varun Aaron and S Arvind have also lost their Grade C contracts.Their places have been taken by the likes of Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jayant Yadav.
Grade A: Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, M Vijay.
Grade B: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuvraj Singh.
Grade C: Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Amit Mishra, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Ashish Nehra, Kedar Jadhav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Jayant Yadav, Mandeep Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant