The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a new contract system and compensation structure for the players.
As per the new structure, there are four categories in Indian Men's team- Grade A+, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C. However, former India skipper MS Dhoni couldn't find himself in the top pay bracket and was handed a Grade A contract.
The A+ category which has been introduced for the first time by the board has only five players - skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who will receive Rs 7 crore annually.
The players in A, B and C categories will receive Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore annually respectively.
It's just not Dhoni who has been relegated as even premier Test off-spinner R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been handed a Grade A contract.
Dhoni has retired from Test cricket but remains a vital cog in the limited overs and putting all speculation to rest, a BCCI official revealed the exact reason behind Dhoni's demotion.
"Its a simple logic that selectors have applied. Play more and get paid more. The five in question are indispensable in all three formats right now. They deserved to be paid more. Also Ravi Shastri, Kohli and Dhoni have been taken into confidence," the official told PTI.
"The second group comprises players who are certainties in at least one format like Saha and Pujara. They are in second group because of their dependability in at least one format," he added.
The A category features MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wridhhiman Saha.
Further clearing the air, the official said, "Dhoni has retired (Test cricket) and Ashwin, Jadeja are no longer automatic selections in limited overs. They are as of now not in WC scheme. So in second category."
Talking about Grade B and Grade C contracts, the official said, "The third group (B) comprises of players who are considered as floaters and can be put in anywhere and players who have played at least one match for India in the last one year have been put in Grade C."
From the previous Rs 2 crore (top category), the CoA-led BCCI increased it by 350 percent to make it Rs 7 crore. The second category has seen 500 percent rise at Rs 5 crore. The annual contracts are for the period from October 2017 to September 2018.
The BCCI also sanctioned the creation of a Players Revenue / Compensation Equalization Fund" (PR/CEF) to which it will contribute approximately Rs 125 crore per annum from its surplus in order to insulate the player compensation as the income of the board fluctuates on an annual basis depending on the number of home matches Team India (senior men) plays.