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Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan lose BCCI central contracts

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja have been retained in the top category

Shreyas Iyer was in Grade B and Ishan Kishan was in Grade C in the last round of India men's central contracts  •  Getty Images

Shreyas Iyer was in Grade B and Ishan Kishan was in Grade C in the last round of India men's central contracts  •  Getty Images

The top tier of the BCCI's annual central contracts has remained unchanged, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja in the A+ category. But Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were not part of the list of 30 contracted players for the 2023-24 season - the list has been expanded from last season's 26.
Iyer, who was one of the key performers in India's run to the World Cup final last November, lost his Grade B contract despite fulfilling the minimum criteria set by the board in terms of matches played. Since last October, when the latest contract period started (it runs from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024), Iyer played four Tests, 12 ODIs and two T20Is. Two of those Tests were the first two of the ongoing series against England, where he struggled for form and was left out for the remainder of the series.
Not long after that, Iyer informed the Mumbai Cricket Association that he had been suffering from back spasms, and would not be available for the Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Baroda. Since then, though, Iyer has made himself available and is part of Mumbai's squad for the semi-final against Tamil Nadu on March 2.
Kishan had a Grade C contract last year. In the last contract period, he played two Tests, 19 ODIs and ten T20Is, and in the ongoing cycle, he has played only two ODIs and three T20Is, though he was part of various other India squads. In December, while on tour in South Africa, he sought a personal break, which was granted by BCCI. However, since then he has not featured in any competitive cricket organised by the board. On Tuesday, he made headlines when he turned up to play at the DY Patil T20 Cup, a privately organised tournament in Mumbai.
A BCCI release on Wednesday said Iyer and Kishan "were not considered for the annual contracts in this round of recommendations" along with a reiteration of its recent stance that "all athletes give precedence to participating in domestic cricket during periods when they are not representing the national team".

Rahul, Hardik in second tier; Suryakumar, Pant in Grade B


The second tier of the central contracts (Grade A) has R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya. Grade B has a new entrant in 22-year old Yashasvi Jaiswal. It is his first BCCI central contract, recognising his work in Test cricket since debuting in July 2023. He struck back-to-back double-centuries in the ongoing series against England.
Along with Jaiswal, the other members of Grade B are Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel.
The final tier is populated by a lot of T20 specialists, including Rinku Singh, Tilak Varma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, KS Bharat, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Rajat Patidar.
Siraj, Rahul and Gill are the new names in Grade A, all of them having been promoted from Grade B. Pant, who hasn't played in over a year since a horrific car crash in December 2022, and Axar, have moved down to Grade B from Grade A.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Deepak Hooda and Yuzvendra Chahal have been omitted altogether, while there are a host of new names taking over: Jaiswal in Grade B, Rinku, Tilak, Gaikwad, Dube, Bishnoi, Jitesh, Mukesh, Prasidh, Avesh and Patidar in Grade C.
The BCCI did not mention the amounts for the four contract categories, but ESPNcricinfo understands that they are likely to go up from the previous year, when A+ was INR 7 crore, A was INR 5 crore, B was INR 3 crore, and C was INR 1 crore.
The BCCI added that, as in previous years, all cricketers who play a minimum of three Tests or eight ODIs or ten T20Is within the specified period "will automatically be included in Grade C on a pro-rata basis". "For instance, Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan, having played two Test matches so far, will be inducted into Grade C if they participate in the Dharamsala Test match [against England]," their statement explained.

Contracts recommended for five fast bowlers


Additionally, the selection committee headed by Ajit Agarkar has recommended fast-bowling contracts to five players: Akash Deep, who made his debut in the fourth Test against England in Ranchi, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Umran Malik, Yash Dayal and V Kaverappa.
ESPNcricinfo has learned the main idea behind the selectors' proposal is to ensure these fast bowlers are insured in case of injury. Providing such a cover would ensure security for these bowlers who could then do rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, the selectors told BCCI.
It is understood the BCCI is working out financial incentives in the form of a salary so they could get the fast bowlers to focus on staying committed to playing first-class cricket.

Full BCCI central contracts list

  • Grade A+: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja
  • Grade A: R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya
  • Grade B: Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Yashasvi Jaiswal.
  • Grade C: Rinku Singh, Tilak Varma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, KS Bharat, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar