Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan lose BCCI central contracts

India
Iyer was in action for India as recently as in the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam and was a big part of the India ODI squad at the World Cup in October. However, he and Kishan have been central figures in a shake-up where the BCCI has asked its players not to skip domestic cricket in favour of IPL prep. Iyer missed the Ranji Trophy quarter-final, citing issues with his back, but is with the Mumbai squad for again the semi-final starting on March 2. Kishan took a break from the game and missed the Ranji Trophy entirely, but returned to action at the DY Patil T20 tournament on Tuesday.

A BCCI release on Wednesday said Iyer and Kishan “were not considered for the annual contracts in this round of recommendations” along with a reiteration of its recent stance that “all athletes give precedence to participating in domestic cricket during periods when they are not representing the national team”.

The second tier of the central contracts (Grade A) has R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya. Grade B has a new entrant in 22-year old Yashasvi Jaiswal. It is his first BCCI central contract, recognising his work in Test cricket since debuting in July 2023. He struck back-to-back double-centuries in the ongoing series against England.
Along with Jaiswal, the other members of Grade B are Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel.

The final tier is populated by a lot of T20 specialists, including Rinku Singh, Tilak Verma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, KS Bharat, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Rajat Patidar.

Siraj, Rahul and Gill are the new names in Grade A, all of them having been promoted from Grade B. Pant, who hasn’t played in over a year since a horrific car crash in December 2022, and Axar, have moved down to Grade B from Grade A.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Umesh Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Deepak Hooda and Yuzvendra Chahal have been omitted altogether, while there are a host of new names taking over: Jaiswal in Grade B, Rinku, Tilak, Gaikwad, Dube, Bishnoi, Jitesh, Mukesh, Prasidh, Avesh and Patidar in Grade C.

The BCCI did not mention the amounts for the four contract categories, but ESPNcricinfo understands that tthey are likely to go up from the previous year, when A+ was INR 7 crore, A was INR 5 crore, B was INR 3 crore, and C was INR 1 crore.

The BCCI statement added that, as in previous years, all cricketers who play a minimum of three Tests or eight ODIs or ten T20Is within the specified period “will automatically be included in Grade C on a pro-rata basis”. “For instance, Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan, having played two Test matches so far, will be inducted into Grade C if they participate in the Dharamsala Test match [against England],” the BCCI explained.

Additionally, the selection committee headed by Ajit Agarkar has recommended fast-bowling contracts to five players: Akash Deep, who made his debut in the fourth Test against England in Ranchi, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Umran Malik, Yash Dayal and V Kaverappa.

Full BCCI central contracts list

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