Raina replaces Yuvraj in BCCI's top contracts list
Suresh Raina has replaced Yuvraj Singh in the Grade A level - the highest - of the BCCI's list of central contracts for 2010-11. Virat Kohli, M Vijay and Pragyan Ojha have moved up to Grade B, while Rohit Sharma has been demoted to C. RP Singh and Munaf Patel, who were previously in Grade B, have not been offered contracts.
The board has made several changes to the structure, reducing the total number of contracted players from 41 to 24, and doing away with Grade D. The annual retainers have been increased from Rs. 60 lakh to Rs. 1 crore ($135,594 to $225,990) for Grade A and from Rs 40 lakh to Rs. 50 lakh ($90,396 to $112,995) for Grade B. The fees for category C remain at Rs. 25 lakhs ($56,498).
Yuvraj has had a forgettable 2010, with indifferent form and fitness dogging him through one of the toughest phases of the career. He was disappointing at the World Twenty20 in the West Indies and was subsequently dropped for the Asia Cup but returned for the Tests in Sri Lanka. In the first Test, he scored 52 and 5 in Galle, before missing the second with fever. He was declared fit to play in the third but was passed over from the final XI in favour of Raina, who had replaced him for the second Test and scored a century on debut.
Gautam Gambhir has, on the other hand, been more fortunate and has retained his Grade A classification despite an indifferent year - he has missed three of India's last six Tests with injuries, and has bagged ducks in the second innings in each of other three. Rahul Dravid, who has been out of India's limited-overs plans since the 2009 Champions Trophy, also features in the A category, despite his recent dip in Test form.
Karnataka seamers Abhimanyu Mithun and Vinay Kumar, who forced their way into the national side through impressive shows in the 2009-10 first-class season, have been added to Grade C, along with Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a fluent half-century against Australia on Test debut.
Dinesh Karthik, who has been in and out of the one-day side as a back-up wicketkeeper and a make-shift opener, has been axed from the contracts list, along with Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Dhawal Kulkarni. Shikhar Dhawan, Abhishek Nayar and Sudeep Tyagi also find themselves out of contracts.
Grade A: Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan
Grade B: Yuvraj Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Virat Kohli, M Vijay, Pragyan Ojha
Grade C: Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar