Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar were on Thursday dropped from the highest category of central contracts for India players while young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant was rewarded with an entry into the A category.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the annual contracts late on Thursday night with Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar, who no longer are certainties in all three formats, being dropped from the A+ category where a player gets a retainer of Rs 7 crore.

India skipper Virat Kohli, ODI vice-captain Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah are the only three players in the A+ category.

Dhawan’s contract being downgraded is not a surprise considering he is no longer a part of the Test set-up and has had an ordinary last three months in the limited overs format.

Pant, on the other hand, has been rewarded for his good show in Test cricket and has jumped directly into the A group after being ignored last year. The A category players get richer by Rs 5 crore.

The other players in the A category are Dhawan, Kumar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.

Kuldeep, who has become India’s front-line spinner in all three formats, has been promoted to A from the B category. Murali Vijay, who was in the A category until last year, has been dropped altogether after a dismal Test tour of Australia.

Pujara, despite his stupendous show in Australia, remains in the A category as he is only a one format player.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul continue to remain in the SPO-CONTRACTS B category where a player fetches Rs 3 crore. The others in the same category are leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and pacer Umesh Yadav.

The C category, where a player receives Rs 1 crore, comprises Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed, Kedar Jadhav and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who missed most of the season due to an injury and last played for India in January 2018.

Poonam Yadav promoted

Poonam Yadav and Jemimah Rodrigues were the big gainers as far as the BCCI annual retainer contracts for Indian women’s cricket are concerned.

A total of 20 players have been given contracts across three grades. The retainer amounts for all these grades have not been changed from last year. Grade A players will get Rs 50 lakh, Grade B gets Rs 30 lakh, and Grade C takes home Rs 10 lakh.

Yadav has replaced the seasoned Jhulan Goswami in the A grade. While Yadav has been promoted from for her impactful performances over the past couple of years, Goswami has been moved to the B grade since she plays only the 50-over format now.

Rodrigues, on the other hand, has been rewarded after a fine debut season for the national team. The talented 18-year-old has become a regular feature in India’s limited-overs teams and has a promising future ahead of her.

Here is the complete list:

Grade A: Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav.

Grade B: Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues.

Grade C: Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut, Mona Meshram, Arundhati Reddy, Anuja Patil, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar.

(Inputs from PTI)