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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, following which there has been suspense over his future. In 2019, he had been awarded a Grade A contract, which brings a retainer of INR 5 crore (USD 700,000 approx). Top-order batsman KL Rahul made the jump from Grade B to A this time around, getting an increment of INR 2 crore (USD 280,000 approx).
While Dhoni has not played any professional cricket since the World Cup, India coach Ravi Shastri has said more than once that Dhoni could come into contention 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. There weren't many other 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 (USD 420,000 approx). 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 (USD 140,000 approx).
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 (USD 980,000 approx) 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 outside of this list gets an India cap during the period, he becomes eligible gets Grade C contract. According to the BCCI rules, a player needs to play a minimum of two matches to be eligible to earn a Grade C contract.