Yuvraj Singh has been rewarded for his stellar World Cup with a Grade A contract from the BCCI for 2011-12, a year after being demoted to Grade B. Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma have both been given Grade A contracts for the first time.
Rohit Sharma moved up from Grade C to B, as did R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, but Ashish Nehra, who had a Grade B contract, did not make the list of contracted players at all. Harbhajan Singh, who was not picked for the one-day series against England or for the upcoming first Test against West Indies, remained in Grade A.
Yuvraj had a forgettable 2010, with indifferent form and fitness dogging him through one of the toughest phases of his career. He bounced back superbly to be Man of the Tournament in the World Cup, before injury cut short his tour of England.
The total number of contracted players ballooned from 24 to 37, with Umesh Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Sharma and Varun Aaron receiving contracts for the first time. Aaron and Yadav impressed with their pace in the recent home one-day series against England. The pair, along with legspinner Rahul Sharma, were included in the squad for the first Test against West Indies starting on November 6. All three players were given Grade C contracts.
Munaf Patel, who missed out last year, was also in Grade C as was Ajinkya Rahane, who made his ODI debut in England this year. Cheteshwar Pujara, who recently recovered from injury and has not played since the IPL, retained his Grade C contract. Meanwhile M Vijay was moved from B to C after struggling on the tour of West Indies earlier this year.
The annual retainers are worth Rs 1 crore (approximately $205,760) for Grade A, Rs 50 lakh (approximately $102,880) for Grade B and Rs 25 lakhs (approximately $51,440) for Grade C.
The BCCI's working committee also voted to classify the IPL as List A cricket at its meeting today in Kolkata and stated their opposition to the new sports bill being promulgated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports.
The ministry had drafted a sports bill ostensibly to bring accountability and transparency to India's sporting bodies, but the idea met with stiff opposition. A first draft was sent back to the ministry for redrafting, and the BCCI said it would oppose the latest version as well.
"While the BCCI is all for good governance and transparency in sports bodies, certain aspects of the bill seek to destroy the autonomy of the board and dilute the rights of its members," the BCCI said in a statement. "Therefore the Board is totally opposed to this bill and will be communicating its objections to the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports shortly ... The bill tends to encroach upon fundamental rights of sports bodies."
Among the committee's other decisions was to appoint Evan Speechly as the Indian team physiotherapist on a two-year contract, replacing Ashish Kaushik. Speechly, a South African who was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL team, will join the India squad for the third Test between India and West Indies.
In addition the committee approved in principle a proposal to allot a certain portion of the gate receipts from the IPL playoffs for the benefit of retired cricketers. They also created an award for the best allrounder in the Ranji Trophy and India's domestic limited-overs tournaments, named after the late former India captain Lala Amarnath. The award will comprise a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 2.5 lakhs ($5000) in each category.
Grade A: Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma.
Grade B: Praveen Kumar, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja.
Grade C: Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar , Ajinkya Rahane, Munaf Patel, M Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Parthiv Patel, S Badrinath, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik, Jaydev Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Rahul Sharma, Varun Aaron.