The Indian cricket board on Wednesday sprang a surprise by giving white-ball specialists Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan the top-most contract according to their latest grade system, rewarding them substantially more than Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
At a time when Test cricket is struggling to keep pace with T20 that is witnessing an exponential growth, the decision to put India’s Test specialists in the lower category of contracts sends wrong signals to long format players.
It’s a sentiment shared by Pakistan legend Wasim Akram who said cricket boards should always reward Test players more than others.
“Test specialists should (get more). Because that’s the most difficult cricket,” Akram told Sport360 during an event in Dubai announcing his association with online cricket content provider CricInGif.
Akram pointed to the fact that players put their bodies on the line in Test cricket and there has to be a clear reward for those who show discipline to excel in the toughest format.
“That’s where you get hit by bouncers, you get hit on your head, on your fingers as a batsman. Bowlers bowl longer spells.
“That’s where the mindset of those who run cricket boards (matters). They should realise Test cricket is the ultimate and everything else follows,” Akram added.
In the BCCI‘s new contract system, limited-overs regulars Rohit and Shikhar find themselves in the A+ category, which is worth rupees 70 million ($1m).
The overall value of central contracts has risen substantially. Earlier, the highest grade (A) was worth 20 million rupees ($300,000) but now the second highest grade (A) alone carries a retainer of 50 million rupees ($770,000).
Most of India’s Test specialists now find themselves in the new A category. It includes Test spinners Ashwin and Jadeja and batsmen Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay.
For Ashwin, Jadeja, Pujara and Vijay, the value of their contract has jumped from 20 to 50 million rupees. But as a share of the overall pie, they find themselves way behind Rohit and Dhawan, whose contract value has risen from 10 and five million rupees respectively to 70 million rupees.
Shami, who represented India during the tour of South Africa in January, has dismissed the accusations of infidelity as “part of a big conspiracy” to defame him.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India dropped Shami from a list of contracted players unveiled Wednesday, which saw skipper Virat Kohli and other top Test players awarded salaries just above $1 million.
A supervisory committee overseeing BCCI affairs said the allegations against Shami put them in a difficult position and that his contract was on hold pending review.
“We are in a bit of Catch 22,” Vinod Rai, chairman of the committee, told cricket website ESPNcricinfo.
“Ordinarily you would distinguish and say that is a personal issue and the contract is a professional issue.
“But someone could easily point out and say this allegation is an unsavoury one and you are still rewarding him.”
A source from the BCCI confirmed the board’s position when contacted by AFP.
Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan, a former model, went public Tuesday with a series of messages that Shami, 27, allegedly sent to women during their four-year marriage.
I’m Mohammad Shami.
Ye jitna bhi news hamara personal life ke bare may chal raha hai, ye sab sarasar jhut hai, ye koi bahut bada humare khilap sajish hai or ye mujhe Badnam karne or mera game kharab karne ka kosis ki ja rahi hai.
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) March 7, 2018
She also accused the cricketer, whom she married in 2014, of domestic violence.
India media reported that Jahan went to the police in Kolkata but did not file an official report against her husband.
Shami vented his frustration at his wife’s accusations and sought to clear his record.
“What is being said about my personal life is completely false,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely a part of a big conspiracy against me. This is just an attempt to defame me.”
The board elevated Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to a new “A+” category for the highest salaried players.
Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin were placed in the next grouping and will receive an annual salary of $777,000.
Provided by AFP Sport
A new grade, A +, has been introduced for the men’s team, with a base contract of US $1million approximately. Skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Bhuvneshawar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah are the five beneficiaries who find themselves accorded the highest grade.
The new grades, announced by the court appointed Committee of Adminstrators (CoA) of the BCCI, will be effective for the period ranging from October 2017 to September 2018.
What is interesting to note is that senior pacer Mohammed Shami’s name does not feature in the list of the contract awardees released by the BCCI on its website. This may have something to do with some recent allegations surfacing against him.
#TeamIndia Senior Men retainership fee structure:
Grade A+ players to receive INR 7 cr each
Grade A players to receive INR 5 cr each
Grade B players to receive INR 3 cr each
Grade C players to receive INR 1 cr each
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 7, 2018
THE NEW GRADES FOR THE MEN’S TEAM
Grade A +
Base contract – USD $1million approximately.
Base contract – USD $0.8million approximately.
Base contract – USD $0.5million approximately.
Base contract – USD $0.2million approximately.
CLASSIFICATION OF PLAYERS
GRADE A +
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Wriddhiman Saha.
KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Dinesh Karthik.
Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Jayant Yadav.