BCCI explains why Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t find place in ‘Grade A plus’ contract list

BCCI explains why Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t find place in ‘Grade A plus’ contract list

Pujara finished in the Grade A category which also features the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday unveiled the list of centrally contracted players for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s category saw four brackets (Grade A plus, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C) with captain Virat Kohli, limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma and fast bowling sensation Jasprit Bumrah featuring in the Grade A plus category that has a payment of INR 7 crore.

Pujara had a phenomenal trip of Australia recently

There were questions over why India’s Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara did not feature in the topmost grade especially after his phenomenal show with the bat in the recent Test series in Australia. To this, an official said to make it to the elite bracket, a player has to perform in at least two of the three formats of the game. The 31-year-old Pujara plays only in the longer format. He played only five ODIs in 2013-14 and is yet to feature in a T20I.

The Saurashtra batsman slammed over 500 runs in the historic Test series Down Under that India won 2-1. He scored three key hundreds in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, including one on the Day 1 of the first Test after India were pushed back. Having played over 1,200 balls in the series for scoring his valuable runs, Pujara gave the organizers no other option but to choose him as the man of the series. The man has played 68 Tests so far, scoring over 5,400 runs at an average of above 51.

Pujara finished in the Grade A category which also features the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane (who also plays in Tests mainly). There are in all 11 players in this bracket and the pay for this is INR 5 crore.

“Pujara did well in Australia but A-plus category is only for those who are excelling in at least two if not three formats. Pujara is only playing one format. Similarly, Ishant Sharma plays one format and is in A category,” Rediff cited reports quoting a BCCI official as saying.

Grade B featured four names, including that of Hardik Pandya while Grade C has seven players, including Wriddhiman Saha who hasn’t played international cricket for some time now owing to injury.

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