In a move that signals the BCCI’s vision for the near future, no annual contracts were handed out to Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh. The new list of graded contracts released by the BCCI today contained 25 cricketers.
Oddly, Sachin Tendulkar playing his last game currently retains his ‘A’ grade contract worth Rs. 1 crore.
In 2012, 37 players were contracted to the BCCI. Of them, a massive 17 have been dropped while five new players have been added. Of those five, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been bumped up straight away to the ‘B’ grade contract worth Rs. 50 lakh.
Three players have been downgraded: Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir have been given ‘B’ grades while Ajinkya Rahane gets a ‘C’ grade contract worth Rs. 25 lakh.
Three more have been promoted from ‘C’ to ‘B’: Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay.
“The players who do not figure in these lists will be placed in Grade C if they represent India in Tests/ODIs/ T20 Internationals during the season,” said BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel in a statement Thursday.
WHAT THIS MEANS
BCCI's annual contracts aren't the best way to gauge its long-term planning, but the contracts offer us a peep into their short-term vision for the team.
Every year, the contracts list sees massive upheavals and 2013 hasn't been different. Three of India's best players of the past decade—Zaheer, Sehwag and Harbhajan—have been left out, perhaps rightly so, for their inability to have any impact on the games they've played lately.
Players who've lingered on the fringes of the Indian team and have made minimal impact with their performances—the Pathan brothers, Munaf Patel, Ashok Dinda—have been shown out. But among them are also players like S. Badrinath and Manoj Tiwary who would feel robbed after being denied an adequate number of games in which to prove themselves.
The inclusion of young players such as Mohammad Shami, Mohit Sharma and Jaydev Unadkat also shows us that India are looking to groom a pace-heavy attack while their spin resources remain stagnant in R. Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra.
Grade A (Rs. 1 crore): Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina.
Grade B (Rs.50 lakh): Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rohit Sharma.
Grade C (Rs.25 lakh): Dinesh Karthik, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Vinay Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma.