The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced the central contracts for the upcoming season and in a big move former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has not been given a contract. He was in Category A last season. The payout for all the four categories remains the same, with the trio of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the top category (A+) where they will get a payout of 7 crore. Dhoni has been out of action since the ICC ODI World Cup where India were knocked out following a loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals. There have been question marks about Dhoni's future in the Indian team and this move by the board will further raise doubts over the future of the former India captain.
MS Dhoni is the only international captain to have won the 50 overs and the 20 overs World Cup. He also led India to the title in the 2013 Champions Trophy. Dhoni has scored 4876 runs in 90 Test matches for India. His tally of 10,773 runs at an average of 50.57 in 350 ODIs makes him one of India's best 50-overs cricketer ever. He has featured in 98 T20Is scoring 1617 runs. Head coach Ravi Shastri had said in a recent interview that the legendary captain could soon end his ODI career but could be in contention for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad provided he does well in the IPL.
Jasprit Bumrah has taken giant strides over the last year and has become India's pace spearhead across all the three formats. He thus retains his place in the top tier alongside Kohli and Rohit. In-form top-order batsman KL Rahul has been promoted to Grade A from Grade B, despite losing his place in the Test squad.
As many as 27 players have been divided into these four categories, with skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah being the three in the A+ category.
The likes of Ambati Rayudu, Khaleel Ahmed and Dinesh Karthik have been dropped from the contracts. Test opener Mayank Agarwal has made an impact in the longest format and has been rewarded with a Category B contract. The likes of Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer and Washington Sundar have been included in the Category C.