New Delhi: The Indian Cricket Board on Monday dropped veterans Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh from their annual ‘Graded Retainership' even as UP seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar made it to the top bracket.
The BCCI also chose to once again ignore the trio of Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan.
In the three groups, the ‘Elite Group' saw four cricketers from last year being retained.
It includes India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his deputy Virat Kohli, limited overs specialist Suresh Raina and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The fifth one in last year's list - Sachin Tendulkar - has already retired and is being replaced by Bhuvneshwar.
The group A cricketers get Rs 1 crore, group B cricketers Rs. 50 lakhs and group C cricketers Rs. 25 lakhs as retainership fee from the BCCI.
The axe on the five veterans, who played crucial roles in India's 2011 ODI World Cup triumph, is yet another indication that the selectors are looking ahead.
Incidentally, Gambhir and Yuvraj were included in group B last year but their subsequent failures led to them being dumped when the list was released today.
Bhuvneshwar was a deserving entry into the top bracket after his lion-hearted performances in England and for maintaining consistency over a period of time which also got him the ‘Cricketer of the Year' award from BCCI.
The likes of Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma have all held on to their Group B retainership while Ambati Rayudu, after his good show in ODIs, has been promoted to group B. Pacer Mohammed Shami has also been elevated to group B. Ajinkya Rahane, for his good show in a all formats, has also been inducted in the second group.
Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parveez Rasool, by virtue of his ODI debut, has got into Group C, while Bengal batsman Manoj Tiwary, having made his ODI return against Bangladesh, is in the same group. Pankaj Singh, after his Test match debut in England, is also in group C along with Mohit Sharma and Varun Aaron.
Axar Patel after his ODI debut against Bangladesh and Karn Sharma who made his debut in first test against Australia in the ongoing series are also included among group C along with chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, Robin Uthappa, Sanju Samson and Lokesh Rahul.
The grade-wise list is as follows:
M S Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin & Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Pragyan Ojha, M. Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu & Md. Shami.
Amit Mishra, Varun Aaron, Wriddhiman Saha, Stuart Binny, Pankaj Singh, R. Vinay Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, Parveez Rasool, Axar Patel, Manoj Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma, Sanju Samson, Kuldeep Yadav & K L Rahul.