NEW DELHI - Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh find themselves out of a central contract for the 2013-14 season, while Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh find themselves downgraded in the BCCI's retainer list, released on Thursday.
Suresh Raina is the surprise inclusion among the five players in the highest grade; the others are captain MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, R Ashwin and Virat Kohli. The list also features five players who were not rewarded with a contract last year. They are Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Grade B), Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Jaydev Unadkat and Mohit Sharma (all in Group C).
While Zaheer and Sehwag featured in Grade A last year, Harbhajan was included in Grade B. ESPNcricinfo understands that they were axed because none of them is assured of a place in the team in any of the three formats. Their exclusion need not, however, be the end of their career, because BCCI rules say that any non-contracted player who features in any international match during the contract period is awarded a Grade C contract for the rest of the tenure.
Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay have been upgraded from Grade C to B for their "exceptional" performance in the last contract cycle. Tendulkar's mention in Grade A may have raised quite a few eyebrows since the veteran batsman is playing is making his last international appearance during India's second Test against the West Indies.
BCCI's retainer list for 2013-14
Grade A (Rs 1 crore): Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Suresh Raina
Grade B (Rs 50 lakh): Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Umesh Yadav, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, B Kumar, Rohit Sharma
Grade C (Rs 25 lakh): Dinesh Karthik, Amit Mishra, Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Vinay Kumar, M Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma.