MS Dhoni has been omitted by the BCCI from a 27-member list of central contract awardees for the 2019-20 season. The 38-year-old former India captain, who hasn't played competitively since India's World Cup semifinal exit to New Zealand at Old Trafford, had held an 'A' category contract in the previous cycle viz. 2018-19.
Dhoni's omission is a possible indicator that the legendary World Cup-winning captain's days as India cricketer are numbered. The keeper-batsman took a sabbatical in the immediate aftermath of India's World Cup exit but hasn't been considered for selection thereafter with Chief Selector MSK Prasad stating that the team was "moving on" from Dhoni.
While Dhoni has remained tight-lipped over his future, hinting suggestively at possible clarity in January 2020, head coach Ravi Shastri, in an interview with IANS,left open a small chance of participation in this year's T20 World Cup, but subject to his performance in the IPL and other selection dynamics.
Rahul, Shami elevated to Grade A; Mayank Agarwal handed Grade B retainer
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah continue to hold on to the A+ grade of contract which will see them pocket a whopping INR 7 crore over the period of September 2019 - October 2020.
KL Rahul and Mohammed Shami, who held the Grade B contract in the previous cycle, have been elevated to the INR 5 crore a year Grade A. Test match 'keeper Wriddhiman Saha moves up the pay grade from C to B and will pocket INR 3 crore. Rishabh Pant retains his Category A contract despite losing his spot as first-choice Test 'keeper to Saha while Mayank Agarwal, who enjoyed a breakthrough start to his Test career, is named in Grade B after being handed his first central contract.
Those that broke into India's limited-overs squads over the last year - Shreyas Iyer, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar - have been handed Category C retainers and will take home INR 1 crore retainers.
Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed and Ambati Rayudu are the three other contracted players from the previous season to lose out on their central contracts.