The BCCI announced their central contracts for the season 2019-20 and have left out the former India captain MS Dhoni from all four categories, a press release sent out on Thursday confirmed.
Dhoni, who has not played since the World Cup semi-final defeat to New Zealand in Manchester, was in Category A last year. This move by BCCI raises more questions about the future of the former captain. The BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, who was took up the post in October last year, has since maintained that the selectors, Dhoni and the team management have spoken about the matter and will address it accordingly.
In a recent interview to CNN News18, India coach Ravi Shastri stressed that Dhoni might still play the T20 World Cup later this year if he has a good IPL.
“I have had a conversation with MS and that is between us,” he said. “He has finished his Test career, he may soon end his ODI career. So he will be left with T20, he will definitely play the IPL. One thing I know about Dhoni is that he will not impose himself on the team. But if he has a cracking IPL, well, then… If Dhoni plays well in IPL then he does put himself in contention.”
The payment structures for all the four categories remain the same, with the trio of captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah retaining their top category A+ contracts and will get a pay out of 7 crore.
KL Rahul has been promoted to Grade A while the likes of Navdeep Saini, Mayank Agarwal (Grade B), Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar and Deepak Chahar have been rewarded with annual contracts as well.
R Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma, who have in recent years played only Test cricket, are in Grade A. Wriddhiman Saha, meanwhile, is in Grade B.
The dropped list also includes Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik.
Outgoing chief selector MSK Prasad has already made his stance clear on Dhoni, saying the World Cup-winning captain can only be selected again on the basis of performances.
While Dhoni has not revealed anything about his future, he is very much expected to captain Chennai Super Kings in the 2020 IPL.
Since the World Cup, he has missed the tour of the West Indies and the home series against South Africa, Bangladesh, the West Indies and the ongoing one against Australia.
Grade A+ (INR 7 CR): Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah
Grade A (INR 5 Cr): R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant