Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was relegated from the top-paid bracket after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday introduced an A+ category (Rs 7 crore) in the central contracts for which only five players, including captain Virat Kohli, were picked. Dhoni was bracketed in the A category (Rs 5 crore) along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wridhhiman Saha. Asked about Dhoni’s demotion, a senior BCCI official said: “It’s a simple logic that selectors have applied. Play more and get paid more. The five in question are indispensable in all three formats right now. They deserved to be paid more. Also Ravi Shastri, Kohli and Dhoni have been taken into confidence.”
The suggestion to incorporate a Grade A+ category came from Dhoni and Kohli.
“This suggestion originated from Virat and MS in the discussions. The players wanted this category to be dynamic and to feature only the best performers,” Vinod Rai told ESPNcricinfo.
“Their logic was this category would have only players featuring in all three formats, players who are in the top-10 rankings. They wanted a category of pure excellence where you perform and you are rewarded. And hence the players would not occupy a permanent slot in this category because if you don’t perform then you slip down the order,” Rai added.
From the previous Rs 2 crore (top category), the CoA-led BCCI increased it by 350 percent to make it Rs 7 crore. The second category has seen 500 percent rise at Rs 5 crore.
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