Cricket, in India, is a cash-rich sport. The players earn a lot through their annual central contracts which are quite high as compared to some of the contracts offered by other boards. These Annual Player Retainerships awarded by the BCCI are divided into four categories – A+, A, B and C. While players in the A+ category earn INR 7 crores per annum, the other three categories get INR 5 crores, INR 3 crores, INR 1 crore respectively.
Even though these are all quite handsome packages, some of the players get far less than what they actually deserve. The 2018-19 period ends in September and the board will be awarding a new set of contracts for the upcoming calendar year. Thus, some of these cricketers definitely deserve an upgrade from their current payment category.
Here are five players who are being paid less than what they deserve:
1. KL Rahul
KL Rahul. (Photo Source: PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
He might not yet be still at his best with the bat despite there being several instances of some sheer brilliance over the past. Yet, KL Rahul is slowly establishing himself as an all-format player. The opener is an excellent T20 cricketer and features in that squad almost every single time.
Furthermore, he made the most of the opportunity he has had in the World Cup 2019. He batted in the middle order as well as opened the innings for the team. At both these positions, he made his mark. Moreover, he is a regular feature in the Test squad as well and is one of the better available options in the country.
Yet, KL Rahul is placed in the ‘Grade B’ category and earns just INR 3 crores per annum. Considering the fact that he represents the team in all the formats consistently, he surely deserves an upgrade. Given that he is yet to establish himself, Rahul could be put into the ‘Grade A’ category.
2. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
Hardik Pandya, without a doubt, is the best all-rounder option available for India at the moment. He is terrific with the bat and plays highly entertaining cricket. Also, he does a fair job with the ball and consistently picks up some important wickets for the team.
The 25-year-old is an integral part of the ODI set-up and is important in the shortest format of the game as well. Whenever he has had the opportunity, he impressed in red-ball cricket as well. He adds a terrific balance to the side and is an invaluable asset.
While he has had his own share of injuries in the last few months, he continues to be an important part of the team across all the formats. ‘Grade B’ is a little too less for his liking and Hardik Pandya must get an upgrade soon. He could even be placed in the ‘Grade A+’ category if he can maintain his fitness and perform consistently.
3. Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Mohammed Shami was upgraded to ‘Grade A’ category last year from ‘Grade B’. With the brand of cricket that he has played in the last twelve months, the pace bowler should get another upgrade in the central contracts 2019-2020. Shami has done a fabulous job in the longest format of the game.
Irrespective of the conditions, he has performed well and played a critical role in the team’s success in recent times. Furthermore, he has been highly impressive in 50-over cricket as well. Even though he just played a handful of games in the World Cup 2019, Shami managed to finish amongst the leading wicket-takers.
Team India can also consider him as a potential option for the T20 World Cup 2020 as the third seamer in the squad. He can provide the team with important breakthroughs in the format and has done decently well in the IPL. Thus, Shami could possibly get an upgrade.
4. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Twitter)
There are just three players in the ‘Grade A+’ category. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah earn INR 7 crores per annum. If there has to be another player who surely deserves a place in this category, it has to be Ravindra Jadeja.
After the Champions Trophy 2017, he was axed from the white-ball formats of the game. Ever since then, he has worked extremely hard on his game. Jadeja has improved his batting leaps and bounds. In about a year’s time, he made a comeback into the ODI team and later the T20I team as well.
He has always been an integral part of the Test set-up of Team India anyway. Thus, he fits into the requirement that a player has to play all the three formats to be put into the ‘Grade A+’ category. Hence, the southpaw should be placed in the higher category in the upcoming central contracts.
5. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
There could be two options for this spot. While one is Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the other could be Rishabh Pant. However, the left-hander is yet to establish himself in the shorter formats. He seems too reckless and casual at the moment and the BCCI can possibly delay his upgrade. However, Bhuvi deserves to be placed back into the ‘Grade A+’ category.
Post all of his injuries last year, his contract was downgraded to ‘Grade A’. But now, he seems to be a fit cricketer and has shown good consistency as well. He is slowly finding his rhythm back and was hitting the right lines and lengths in the World Cup 2019 as well. Bhuvi is surely going to be a part of the T20 World Cup 2020 plans given his expertise in the format.
Moreover, he is a good red-ball cricketer as well and can make an impact as soon as he gets his opportunities. With Team India set to play a lot of cricket in the next two years, he will be an important part. Thus, he should be put back into the pay category he earlier was in.
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