Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin found themselves relegated from the top-paid bracket with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday introducing an A+ category in the central contracts for which only five players, including skipper Virat Kohli, were picked.
The batting troika of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Shikhar Dhawan along with pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah were selected for the new category, which will ensure them annual contracts worth Rs 7 crore each.
Dhoni and Ashwin have been bracketed in the A category along with Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wridhhiman Saha. These seven players would be eligible for a contract of Rs five crore.
Grade B will feature KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma and Dinesh Karthik, while Grade C includes Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel and Jayant Yadav.
The Grade B contracts are worth Rs three crore, while those in Grade C are of Rs one crore.
The annual contracts are for the period from October 2017 to September 2018. Interestingly, Test regular Mohammed Shami didn't get a contract on a day he was accused of abuse and adultery by his wife.
"The Committee of Administrators (CoA) was of the view that the performance and position of Indian cricket needs to be recognised with the fee structure comparable to the best in the world," the BCCI said in a statement.
Among the women, World Cup stars Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have been kept in the top bracket, under which the annual contract is worth Rs 50 lakh.
"The CoA recognises that the actual income of the BCCI fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the number of home matches Team India (Senior Men) plays.
"Hence, to insulate the player compensation, the CoA has sanctioned the creation of a 'Players Revenue/Compensation Equalisation Fund' (PR/CEF) to which the BCCI will contribute approximately Rs 125 crore per annum from its surplus," the BCCI statement read.