The BCCI contract list comprising 26 cricketers in four categories, put out on Wednesday, has two notable absentees. Fast bowler Shardul Thakur and middle-order batsman Shreyas Iyer didn’t find a place despite turning up for the senior national team in limited-overs cricket.Between October 1 last year and March 6, 2018, Thakur has featured in three ODIs and as many T20 internationals, with his last match being at Colombo on Tuesday.
Iyer, on the other hand, has played six ODIs and six T20Is during that period. As per the BCCI rules/convention, a player getting into the Indian team during a contract period automatically becomes a Grade C retainer. The Mumbai boys weren’t picked though. Allrounder Jayant Yadav, meanwhile, has been handed a Grade C contract despite not playing for India in any format since February 2017.
Asked about this, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) head, Vinod Rai, said: “This list is done only by the selectors, not by us. We only put the amount and approved it.”
A selector confirmed this, saying: “Selectors decide the players for the contract system and the BCCI announces it.”
The BCCI acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, who is the convener of the national selection committee, however, said he didn’t convene any selectors’ meeting on the player contract issue. “I’m not a part of this decision. As far as I know, nobody from the BCCI is part of this decision. As convener of the selection committee, I can confirm that there was no committee meeting on this subject,” Choudhary told The Indian Express.
It is learnt that during their meeting with the CoA a few months back, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni had stressed that the BCCI shouldn’t give contracts to the players who have played just an odd game or two for the national team and there has to be a minimum requirement. This is why Jaydev Unadkat, Rishabh Pant and Mohammad Siraj, too, didn’t make the grade.
Then again, Iyer has 12 international matches under his belt compared to Yadav’s five. Maybe, the selectors gave weightage to the latter’s Test experience and that he has a Test century. Iyer and Thakur are yet to feature in the game’s highest level.