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  5. BCCI Central Contracts: Will Rahane-Pujara duo retain Grade A retainership? Rahul, Pant eye promotion

BCCI Central Contracts: Will Rahane-Pujara duo retain Grade A retainership? Rahul, Pant eye promotion

Another big question is whether the BCCI top brass is in a mood to upgrade two future captaincy contenders -- KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant -- alongside Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah in the elite A+ category.

India TV Sports Desk Edited by: India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: January 20, 2022 19:43 IST
India Test specialist Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are out of form since last one year.
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

India Test specialist Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are out of form since last one year. 

Highlights

  • Rahane only has one century to his name over the last two years, Pujara has none.
  • Pant was India's second highest run-scorer in 2021 in Test cricket.
  • KL Rahul is leading India's ODI team in ongoing South Africa series.

Out of form India batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are likely to get demoted to group B of the BCCI central contracts for the year 2022 while India's second-highest run-scorer in Test cricket in the year gone by - Rishabh Pant and opening batsman KL Rahul, who is leading Team India in ODI series against South Africa, could be upgraded to Group A. 

Another big question is whether the BCCI top brass is in a mood to upgrade two future captaincy contenders -- KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant -- alongside Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah in the elite A+ category.

The BCCI has four categories -- A+, A, B and C -- which carry annual retainership of Rs 7 crore, Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.

Normally, it is the three office-bearers, five selectors and the national head coach, who decide retainerships.

As of now, there won't be massive changes to the 28 names featured in the last list but there could be some serious discussions about the composition of the current groups which were in place last year.

"Obviously, Rohit, Kohli and Bumrah being the three indispensable players across formats would be in A plus category beyond doubt. But now Rahul and Pant are slowly establishing themselves as all-format regulars, so it needs to be seen whether the duo gets promotion or not," a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity. But what could be a more debatable issue is Pujara and Rahane's status after a year of consistent non-performance.

"The central contract is a performance indicator of where you stand as per your performance during the last season. If the BCCI and head coach (Rahul) Dravid decide to honour the duo and keep them in group A, then it's a different issue but under normal circumstances, they ideally won't feature in group A," the source said.

Ditto for Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya, who have both struggled due to injuries and lack of form throughout the season and could feature in group B.

Similarly, among the group B players of last season, only Shardul Thakur, who has had some impactful performances in Test matches, can be hopeful of a promotion to group A.

In current group C, Mohammed Siraj is one man, who has shown tremendous improvement while Shubman Gill is one for the future along with Hanuma Vihari, who would also be expecting an upgrade. Among newcomers, the likes of Venkatesh Iyer and Harshal Patel could make their maiden cut.

Last Season's (2021) Contract List

Grade A+: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah

Grade A: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Mohd. Shami, Ishant Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya

Grade B: Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Mayank Agarwal

Grade C: Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shubman Gill, Hanuma Vihari, Axar Patel, Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Md. Siraj.