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Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah not happy that Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t get into Grade A plus

Grade A plus currently features India captain Virat Kohli, limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah.

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

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently came out with the annual contracts for both male and female national cricketers and its decision to keep ace Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara out of top grade (A plus) disappointed many. The board though said in defence of the decision that only players who did well in at least two of the three formats were kept in the elite grade.

Grade A plus currently features India captain Virat Kohli, limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah and the members of this category get a pay of Rs 7 crore. Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, who is currently associated with Saurashtra Cricket Association, has also felt disappointed over not picking Pujara in the top grade.

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Pujara, who also plays for Saurashtra in domestic cricket, came up with a stellar performance with the bat against Australia in the last series played Down Under, scoring over 500 runs in four Tests with three key centuries. He played over 1,200 balls in the entire tour, establishing a new high in the longer format batting in the era of slam-bang cricket. India won their first series in Australia banking on his efforts and Pujara was adjudged the man of the series.

However, Pujara found his name in Grade A released by the BCCI – the second after the top grade that features the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Players in this category are paid Rs 5 crore.

Tests are not given importance by CoA

“It was disappointing not to see Pujara’s name in A-plus list. It’s highly unfair that Tests are not given importance by the CoA. After enjoying such a fantastic season in international cricket, Pujara deserved to be in the A-plus bracket,” Shah, 74, was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

Pujara plays only the Test format regularly. The last of his five ODIs came in 2014 while he is yet to make his T20I debut.

Shah was also critical of the Committee of Administrators – the Supreme Court-appointed body which is currently running the BCCI. “The way the CoA is running the game in India, the less said the better,” he said.

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