BCCI annual player contracts: Shikhar, Bhuvneshwar downgraded; Kuldeep & Pant rewarded

Mumbai: The annual contracts for Indian cricketers were announced by the BCCI on Thursday. Players like Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were downgraded from the top bracket and youngster Rishabh Pant got rewarded with an entry into the A category.

Only three players in the A+ category, who will receive Rs 7 crore, include captain Virat Kohli, ODI and T20 vice-captain Rohit Sharma and paceman Jasprit Bumrah.

Both Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar are now in the A category along with the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, MS Dhoni and others. Players in the A category will receive Rs 5 crore.

The other players in the A category are Mohammad Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane.

Dhawan’s contract getting downgraded does not come as a surprise. He is no longer a part of the Test set-up and his performances in the limited overs format has also not been of the highest standard of late.

Wicket-keeper batsman Pant, on the other hand, has been rewarded for his good show in Test cricket and has jumped directly into the A group after being ignored last year. The southpaw has been rewarded for his hundreds in England and Australia and he is ready to take on the mantle from Mahendra Singh Dhoni once he retires from limited overs.

Kuldeep Yadav promoted to A category

Left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who has become India’s front line spinner in limited overs cricket and also pushing for a permanent place in the Test team, has been promoted to A from the B category. Murali Vijay, who was in the A category until last year, has been dropped altogether after a dismal Test tour of Australia.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul continue to remain in the B category where a player fetches Rs 3 crore. The others in the same category are leggie Yuzvendara Chahal and pacer Umesh Yadav.

The C category, where a player receives Rs 1 crore, comprises Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed, Kedar Jadhav and wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who missed the most of the season due to an injury and last played for India in January 2018.