Senior Indian cricketers like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma are likely to get demotion in the annual contracts by BCCI. Every year the Indian cricket board issues annual contracts to players on the basis of their performance in the previous year. The contracts are classified into four categories: A+, A, B and C worth Rs 7 cr, 5 cr, 3 cr and 1 cr respectively.
According to a report, Rahane and Pujara, who have been underfiring with the bat and also under the scanner of their critics, will be pushed down to Grade B from Grade A. Pace bowler Ishant Sharma, who was benched for three Test matches against South Africa, is also reportedly said to be downgraded in the upcoming central contracts. Former Indian skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah will retain their A+ category contract while KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will continue in the A category.
“The draft was made after the T20 World Cup. A final call will be taken soon. Indian cricket has to move forward and performances of new players can’t be ignored,” a BCCI source told. “As senior players, they are expected to score more in difficult situations. Ashwin is a tricky case because he has made a comeback in the white-ball format. But that has happened after the period under review. He was not played on the entire England tour but his performances in every game he has played has been outstanding,” the source added.
After a disappointing tour of South Africa where India were defeated 1-2 (in Test series) and 0-3 (in ODIs), the Indian team management will focus on rejuvenating the squad with some tough decisions. India will be playing against West Indies and Sri Lanka at home in the next couple of months.