KOLKATA: Middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh returned to the top tier of BCCI’s contracted cricketers, while Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli were also promoted to Grade A in the new list announced on Saturday.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan retained their places in Grade A, which now has 12 players instead of nine.
The yearly contract amount which was decided at a working committee meeting, was kept unchanged at Rs one crore for Grade A, 50 lakh for Grade B and 25 lakh for Grade C.
The Cricket Board also increased the number of contracted players from previous year’s 24 to 36 with the addition of 11 new players in Grade C.
Yuvraj, who was on Friday named in the Indian squad for the first Test against the West Indies after recovering from an injury, returned to the top tier after one year. He was demoted to Grade B last year.
Despite a listless show in India’s full tour of England this summer, which led to his axing from the home ODI series against England and the first Test squad against the West Indies, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh managed to retain his place in Grade A.
Young batsman Suresh Raina, who was dropped from the first Test squad against West Indies, was also retained in the top tier.
Ishant Sharma was rewarded for his decent show in the England tour while Kohli also got the nod for his impressive show in the ODI series in England and at home though he flopped in the Test series in the West Indies.
Pacer Praveen Kumar and Pragyan Ojha retained their places in the five-player Grade B category while Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja were promoted from Grade C.
There was no change in the number of players in Grade B but Murali Vijay has been pushed down to Group C while paceman Ashish Nehra was not included among the contracted players.
S Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Rahul Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar managed to hold their places in Grade C.
Ajinkya Rahane, Munaf Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Parthiv Patel, S Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were the other players in Grade C which has 19 players, an increase of 11 from last year.
Grade A: Rs 1 Crore: Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma, Virat Kohli.
Grade B: Rs 50 lakhs: Praveen Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja.
Grade C: Rs 25 lakhs: S Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Munaf Patel, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Parthiv Patel, S Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma, Varun Aaron.(PTI)