India’s chief coach Ravi Shastri feels that Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara should remain in the top bracket when the BCCI and Committee of Administrators (COA) thrash out the revised central contracts based on new remuneration structure. Pujara is currently in the Grade A of Central Contracts alongside Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay.
During a panel discussion on journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s new book ‘Democracy’s XI’, Shastri said: “It is very important that someone like Cheteshwar Pujara is kept in the top bracket of central contract.” Shastri, along with Kohli and Dhoni, met CoA chief Vinod Rai to discuss the revised compensation package and Future Tours & Programme (FTP) calendar. There have been discussions in BCCI circles that players will be bracketed as per who plays the maximum number of international matches across formats in a particular calendar year.
Pujara, one of the pillars of the Indian Test set-up, does not play any other format and unfortunately has not been getting any IPL contract. Shastri also spoke about how the mutual respect between Dhoni and Kohli has been a reason for the current team’s success.
“I have never seen Dhoni lose his cool. If he has, it must have been for 10 seconds. Kohli is still work in progress but he will certainly mature. I hear a lot of stories about their relationship but all those are not true. I have seen how much mutual respect the two have for each other,” Shastri said in the presence of former captain Kapil Dev.