Virat Kohli's and MS Dhoni's suggestions behind hefty hike in team India salaries

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Kohli had Dhoni had backed the substantial hike in salaries.

The idea to introduce a new grading system for team India’s central grade contracts with the BCCI seems to have emanated from skipper Virat Kohli and stalwart MS Dhoni.

On Wednesday, the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was appointed by the Supreme Court to overlook the workings of the BCCI, announced a new central contract grading system for team India.

The revised system sees the introduction of a new top-grade called ‘A+’. 

The new grade is worth rupees 70 million ($1m) per annum and its first beneficiaries include Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.

“This suggestion originated from Virat and MS (Dhoni) in the discussions. Their logic was this category would have only players featuring in all three formats, players who are in the top-10 rankings. They wanted a category of pure excellence where you perform and you are rewarded. And hence the players would not occupy a permanent slot in this category because if you don’t perform then you slip down the order,” CoA head Vinod Rai was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

The likes of Rohit Sharma find themselves in the new category.

The likes of Rohit Sharma find themselves in the new category.

The idea to hike players’ salaries considerably had originated during Anil Kumble’s tenure as the India head coach and he, along with Kohli, is said to have advocated a 150 per cent rise in the wages offered to players.

Test specialists such as Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have been bracketed in the second highest category (A) which is worth rupees 50 million per annum.

The revised contract grading has divided opinion in the cricketing fraternity with many arguing that it rewards white-ball specialists over players who specialise in the five-day format.

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Virat Kohli unveiled as brand ambassador for Uber in India

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Kohli's list of endorsements continues to grow.

That India skipper Virat Kohli is one of the biggest marketing commodities in the cricket world is no hidden secret. The batting sensation enjoys a cult status among fans from the second-most populous country in the world, making him one of the most sought-after ambassadors and endorsers for leading brands.

Kohli has added another top brand in his ever-growing list of companies he currently endorses. The 29-year-old was unveiled as the first-ever brand ambassador for tech-based cab aggregators, Uber, for the Indian market.

According to Uber India, the move to appoint Kohli as brand ambassador for India is an initiative that is first of its kind by the global giants across the Asia Pacific region.

For his part, the cricketing superstar expressed his delight at joining hands with Uber.

“As a cricketer, I travel a lot and I have personally enjoyed the seamless experience of booking an Uber. It’s great to see how the company is using technology to revolutionise the way people move around cities, and is empowering millions by creating economic opportunities. I am very excited to join hands with a company that is so committed to people and cities they operate in,” he said.

“Uber India’s association with Virat Kohli will lay the foundation for a host of brand-led interventions in 2018. Besides being the face of the brand, Virat will be actively involved in a series of innovative marketing and customer experience initiatives to be rolled out by Uber India,” the company said in a statement.

Kohli currently endorses more than 20 brands including Puma and his brand-value was deemed to be worth more than that of football superstar and Barcelona magician Lionel Messi according to a report by Forbes in 2017. The India skipper was ranked seventh overall in the list of the top branded athletes worldwide by the magazine.

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Shikhar Dhawan leads India to six-wicket win over Bangladesh in T20 tri-series

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Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit his second successive Twenty20 half-century to help India thrash Bangladesh by six wickets and register their first win in the tri-nation tournament on Thursday.

Chasing 140 for victory, India rode on Dhawan’s 43-ball 55 to achieve their target with eight balls to spare at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium.

India, who won the toss and opted to bowl, gained the upper hand after pacemen Jaydev Unadkat and Vijay Shankar shared five wickets between them to restrict Bangladesh to 139-8.

“I think it was a great performance, something that was expected from us. Right from the start to the end, it was clinical and a complete team effort,” India skipper Rohit Sharma said after the win.

“Bowlers executed plans very well. We kept it simple and got the basics right, which was missing in the first game.”

Dhawan, whose 90 went in vain in India’s opening loss against hosts Sri Lanka on Tuesday, then made sure that his side cruise home, despite initially slumping to 40-2.

Sharma faltered in his second successive outing after chopping a delivery onto his stumps from left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman. He made 17.

Dhawan, hitting five fours and two sixes en route to his sixth T20 fifty, and Suresh Raina, who made 28, put on a crucial 68-run third-wicket stand.

Dhawan finally fell to Taskin Ahmed’s right-arm medium pace in the 17th over but Manish Pandey, 27 not out, carried the team home.

Earlier Bangladesh’s batting faltered with only Liton Das, who top-scored with 34 and Sabbir Rahman, who hit 30 off 26 balls, giving some respectability to the total.

Unadkat claimed three wickets with his left-arm pace while Shankar, who took his first international wicket in Mushfiqur Rahim, returned figures of 2-32.

“We didn’t bat well. We should have scored 30 more runs. We need to find out how to get runs on these kind of wickets,” said Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah.

“One win will boost us and will reflect in our game. Hopefully we’ll get it.”

Bangladesh will next take on Sri Lanka in the third match of the tournament, which is timed to commemorate the host island’s 70 years of independence, on Saturday.

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