Wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has bagged a Grade A contract in the BCCI’s annual retainers list.
The 21-year-old, who was not part of the contracted players list for the last season, will earn INR 5 crore for the period from October 2018 to September 2019.
Pant, who scored 114 in his third Test at The Oval last year, also had a successful tour of Australia, where he scored unbeaten 159 in the fourth Test in Sydney. He also set the Indian record for the most catches by a wicket-keeper in a Test in Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have been demoted from A+ category to A to earn INR 5 crore, joining Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Kuldeep Yadav, all three of whom were promoted from Grade B.
The three players to retain their A+ contracts includes the top batsman for Tests and ODIs - Virat Kohli, ranked number two in ODIs - Rohit Sharma and the top-ranked ODI bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
Former skipper MS Dhoni, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all retained their place in the A category.
Ambati Rayudu, Hanuma Vihari and Khaleel Ahmed had to settle into the C category, bagging INR 1 crore. However, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel and Jayant Yadav were left out of the list altogether, along with opener M Vijay, who was in the A category last year but is no longer a centrally-contracted cricketer.
Notable players like all-rounder Vijay Shankar and openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal could not find a contract.
Among India women cricketers, legspinner Poonam Yadav has been awarded a Grade A contract worth INR 50 lakh, joining Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana. Yadav was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the ODIs alongside New Zealand’s Leigh Kasperek while topped the wicket charts for 2018 in T20Is.
The young 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues, who was placed in Grade C, has been promoted to B category to earn INR 30 lakh. Top-ranked bowler in ODIs Jhulan Goswami has been demoted from A to B, while Veda Krishnamurthy’s lean patch in last season resulted in her demotion to C to settle for INR 10 lakh, alongside left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad.