Star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was rewarded with the elite grade A plus retainers, while Axar Patel got promoted to the A category as the BCCI announced the annual contracts on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Jadeja, who was joint Player of the Series in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, was one of the four players to be placed in the A plus category, along with skipper Rohit Sharma, former captain Virat Kohli and injured pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
Top-order batter KL Rahul got demoted to Grade B after a string of poor performances.
Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ishant Sharma didn’t get a contract as BCCI handed retainers to 26 cricketers in four groups of A plus (Rs 7 crore), A (Rs 5 crore), B (Rs 3 crore) and C (Rs 1 crore).
It seems curtains for the veteran trio, who have been dropped from the contract list, signaling that they are no longer in the reckoning for the national team.
Spin all-rounder Axar had plenty to be happy about as he was promoted to A category, while wicketkeeper batter KS Bharat also landed a maiden central contract after being included in Group C.
Star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, who is recovering after undergoing treatment for his injuries following a horror crash in December last year, remains in A category, which also includes Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami.
There were six cricketers in Group B, including Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammed Siraj, Suryakumar yadav and Shubman Gill.
The Group C comprises 11 cricketers — Umesh yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Shardul Thakur, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, besides Bharat.
The elite A plus category has players who are a sure shot candidate for all three formats, while ‘A’ comprises cricketers who are certainties for Tests and one-dayers. Players who are considered for limited-over cricket are in Group B, while C group players are generally considered for one of the three formats regularly.