AgencyNew Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Thursday dropped from the BCCI’s list of centrally contracted players, raising fresh doubts on the future of the former India captain who has not played since the World Cup semifinal loss to New Zealand last year. The BCCI announced the central contracts for the period of October 2019 to September 2020. The 38-year-old Dhoni was in the A category, which fetches a player Rs 5 crore as annual retainership, until last year. Skipper Virat Kohli, his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma and top pacer Jasprit Bumrah were retained in the highest A+ bracket of Rs 7 crore. Dhoni’s contract not being renewed is not exactly a surprise as he has not played a competitive game since that World Cup semifinal on July 9. He has been on an sabbatical and has refused to divulge his future plans. Head coach Ravi Shastri had recently said that Dhoni may soon end his ODI career but could be in contention for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad provided he does well in the IPL. Among others, batsman K L Rahul has been promoted from B grade to A. Having lost his place in the Test side following a dismal tour of Australia last year, Rahul has made a strong comeback and been a consistent performer in the shorter formats. Test opener Mayank Agarwal, who has done well since making his debut during the tour of Australia in 2018-19, has been included in the Grade B category, which also features Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal along with two others. Pacer Navdeep Saini and T20 specialist Washington Sundar are new entrants in Grade C alongside Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. Though he has not played Tests, Saini has emerged as an option in all three formats. The dropped list includes Ambati Rayudu, who has come out of retirement, and Dinesh Karthik, who was dropped from the ODI and T20 team following India’s exit from the 50-over World Cup. While Dhoni has not revealed anything about his future, he is expected to captain Chennai Super Kings in the 2020 IPL. BCCI Central Contracts for October 2019 to September 2020: Grade A+ (Rs 7 crore): Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah. Grade A (Rs 5 crore): Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, K L Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant. Grade B (Rs 3 crore): Wriddhiman Saha, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal. Grade C (Rs 1 crore): Kedar Jadhav, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar. Meanwhile, Veteran cricketer Mithali Raj was on Thursday demoted to Grade B from A in the BCCI central contracts while Radha Yadav and Taniya Bhatia were elevated to the middle bracket. The latest contracts run from October 2019 to September 2020. Grade A (Rs 50 lakh): Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav. Grade B (Rs 30 lakh): Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma. Grade C (Rs 10 lakh): Veda Krishnamurthy, Punam Raut, Anuja Patil, Mansi Joshi, D Hemlatha, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Priya Punia, Shafali Verma.
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