The Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI] announced its annual central contract list on Thursday from October, 2019 to September, 2020 and one big name was missing from it -- Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The former India captain missed out on a central contract while Hardik Pandya was demoted to 'B' category from 'A'. However, along with the major changes, six new names were also added to the list.
The five new players who were added to the list are Navdeep Saini, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. All of them barring Mayank have been placed in Grade C. The Test opener has been added to the 'B' category.
The annual player contracts are divided into four grades - Grade A+ has the salary cap of 7 crore, while Grade A has a cap of Rs. 5 crore. The two are followed by Grade B and Grade C, which salary caps of Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 1 crore respectively.
All of them have been rewarded for their performances recently in international cricket with Mayank being the most effective among the lot.
Since making his debut in the Boxing Day Test at MCG in 2018, the Karnataka opener has gone on to amass 872 runs from 9 Test matches at an average of 67.07. The right-hander has smashed three centuries including a double ton against Bangladesh and also has three fifties to his name.
Mayank was also named in the ICC Test team of the year for 2019 and recieved his maiden ODI call-up in place of Shikhar Dhawan for the West Indies series. However, he didn't get a game and is yet to make his limited-overs debut.
Barring Mayank, rest of the four have made their names in limited-overs cricket with Iyer, Sundar, Chahar and Saini all featuring regularly for India in coloured clothing.
Iyer among the lot has caught the eye the most with him being a regular for India in the fifty-over format at No.4. The Mumbaikar seemed to be the solution for India's No.4 conondrum with him playing 7 ODIs after the 2019 World Cup. Out of the seven games, Iyer has registered 50+ scores on five ocassions and scored a total of 270 runs from 6 innings. Since the World Cup, in 11 T20Is, Iyer has smashed 181 runs including a 62 against Bangladesh in Nagpur.
Among the bowlers, Saini has been the most impressive. However, Chahar stands out because of his hat-trick against Bangladesh in Nagpur. Chahar bagged record figures of 6/7 in 3.2 overs bettering Ajantha Mendis's 6/8 versus Zimbabwe in Hambantota. Chahar so far has featured in 3 ODIs picking up 2 wickets while he has played 10 T20Is and returned with 17 wickets to his name.
Saini on the other hand has been a recent addition to India's pace battery. The lanky bowler's pace and accuray has been a major plus for Virat Kohli in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, who was out with an injury until the recently concluded Sri Lanka series. The Delhi pacer has so far played 7 T20Is and got 11 wickets and two wickets in the single ODI he played against West Indies at the Barabati Stadium.
Sundar much like Iyer has been around for a while in limited-overs cricket before finally landing a central contract. He made his ODI and T20I debuts in 2017 and since then has gone on to play 21 T20Is and 1 ODI for India. In T20Is, he has 18 wickets to his name while in the fifty-over format, he has just one scalp.
Shardul is the last name among the six to be added with him also being rewarded for his consistency across the two formats he has played. Shardul also made his Test debut against West Indies in 2018 but couldn't play a part due to an injury he picked up early in the game. In limited-overs cricket, he has played 10 T20Is and 8 ODIs, picking up 13 and 8 wickets respectively.