Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were demoted to Grade B in the The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) central contract list, which was ratified by the Board's Apex Council on Wednesday.

Pujara, Rahane and Ishant Sharma, who were in Grade A until last year, are now in Grade B. This comes after the trio were dropped for the Test series against Sri Lanka, which begins in Mohali on Friday.


The BCCI has four categories - A+ which has annual remuneration of Rs 7 crore. A, B and C categories are valued at Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively. Last time, 28 cricketers were provided central contracts but this year, 27 have been awarded contracts with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah retained in the as A+ grade.

Group A, which earlier had 10 players, is now down to five with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami retaining their slots. Wriddhiman Saha, who has been dropped from the Test team, was demoted from group B to C.

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Saha, too, was left out of the Test squad against Sri Lanka.

Hardik Pandya, who has not played any international cricket since the T20 World Cup in UAE last year, has been demoted to Group C, along with Shikhar Dhawan.

Deepti, Rajeshwari promoted

In the women's central contracts, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad were added to Group A - which has an annual retainership fee of Rs 50 lakh. They joined Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav in the top group.

While Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami remain in group B (Rs 30 lakh),  Jemimah Rodrigues, Shikha Pandey and Punam Raut who couldn't make it to the ODI World Cup squad, were demoted to Group C (Rs 10 lakh).