The BCCI appears to have sorted out the new contracts for 2007-08 for Team India players. They have also increased both the contract-amount payable for each Grade as well as the number of Grades.
In the previous round, the contracts raised a few eyebrows, especially with respect to Zaheer Khan who languished in Grade-C! Zaheer Khan now moves to Grade A! The graded players for the previous round were:
- Grade-A (Rs 50 lakh/yr plus match fee): Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni.
- Grade-B (Rs 35 lakh/yr plus match fee): V. V. S. Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar.
- Grade-C (Rs 20 lakh/yr plus match fee): Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffer, Sree Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel.
The new contracts issued yesterday has the following make up:
- Grade-A (Rs 60 lakh/yr plus match fee): Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni, Zaheer Khan. [7 players]
- Grade-B (Rs 40 lakh/yr plus match fee): V. V. S. Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffer, S Sreesanth, Dinesh Karthik, R. P. Singh. [8 players]
- Grade-C (Rs 25 lakh/yr plus match fee): Suresh Raina, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Ramesh Powar, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla. [7 players]
- Grade-D: (Rs 15 lakh/yr plus match fee) Rohit Sharma, Joginder Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, Mohammad Kaif, Cheteshwar Pujara, Parthiv Patel, S Badrinath, Aakash Chopra and Yusuf Pathan. [11 players]
That represents a 33-player list split up into 4 different grades — the previous list had only 17 players! So this is already a step in the right direction by the BCCI contracts committee.
Zaheer Khan moved two grades up to Grade-A which offers a retainer of Rs 60 lakhs pa.
Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar drop to Grade-C from Grade-B while Gautam Gambhir, Wasim Jaffer, Sreesanth, Dinesh Karthik and R. P. Singh step up a grade. Grade-B @ Rs 40 lakhs pa, sees a pay hike of 5 lakhs pa.
Ramesh Powar, Robin Uthappa and Piyush Chawla are new entrants into Grade-C which, at Rs 25 lakhs pa, also sees a pay-hike of 5 lakhs!
Grade-D @ Rs 15 lakhs pa is a new grade and accommodates 11 new players in the ‘system’.
My view is that this is a fairer representation of the talent in India and is also, perhaps, a more fair gradation. Rathnakar Shetty, N. Srinivasan and their crew appear to have got it right. One can question the details, but the priniciples appear to be right.
In addition, any player who is not on the above contract/retainership list but was selected to play for India in Tests or ODIs, would be automatically placed in the Grade D for the rest of the year. Again, this appears to be fair. In addition, a Grade-D player who plays either 5 Tests or 15 ODIs in a year for India would automatically move to Grade-C.
Looks reasonably good to me.