India’s much-awaited new annual contracts are a departure from last year’s attempts to keep Test specialists in the top category. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, fixtures in India’s limited-overs sides but always fighting for a spot in the Tests, made it to the newly introduced A+ category alongside captain Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. However, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara and even Ajinkya Rahane found themselves in the A category after having been among the best paid Indian cricketers last year. M Vijay, too, previously in the top category, found himself in the second-best group. There was also acknowledgement that MS Dhoni doesn’t play enough cricket to merit the top category he had retained last year.
However, their retainer still went up from INR 2 crore (approximated USD 300,000) last year to INR 5 crore (approximately USD 750,000); players in the A+ group will take away INR 7 crore, not quite a million dollars.
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Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.