MS Dhoni is no longer a centrally contracted player with the BCCI. His name didn’t feature in the 27 contracts handed out by the Indian board on Thursday. He last played for India during the World Cup in 2019 post which there has been a suspense around his future. He had been awarded a Grade A contract, which brings a retainer of INR 5 crore, in 2019. Top-order batsman KL Rahul made the jump from Grade B to A, an incentive of INR 2 crore.
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While Dhoni has not played any professional cricket since the World Cup, India coach Ravi Shastri has said more than once that Dhoni could throw his name in the ring for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year if he does well in the IPL. Others to lose contracts were Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Khaleel Ahmed.
Otherwise, there weren’t many massive changes from the contracts list from last year. Test opener Mayank Agarwal, who made his debut in Melbourne in a delicately poised series and immediately impressed, was the big gainer, entering the list at Grade B, which comes with a retainer of INR 3 crore. Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who had dropped to Grade C thanks to injuries, came back to join Agarwal in Grade B.
Other new names in the contracts – as of now – included limited-overs specialists: Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar. They all entered the system at Grade C, which comes with a retainer of INR 1 crore.
The A+ grade, which includes players who feature in all three formats, remained unchanged with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah retaining their INR 7 crore fee. The injured Hardik Pandya, who has played only T20Is since the World Cup, retained his Grade B contract.
These contracts are for October 2019 to September 2020. The total number of retainers has come down from 29 to 27. The recommendations for these contracts are made by national selectors based on a combination of performance in the previous year and the roles players are expected to play in the contract period. If someone out of this list gets an India cap during the period, he automatically gets a retainer.
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