Dhoni was relegated from the top-paid bracket after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday introduced an A+ category (Rs 7 crore) in the central contracts for which only five players, including captain Virat Kohli, were picked.
He was bracketed in the A category (Rs 5 crore) along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wridhhiman Saha. Asked about Dhoni’s demotion, a senior BCCI official said: “It’s a simple logic that selectors have applied. Play more and get paid more. The five in question are indispensable in all three formats right now. They deserved to be paid more. Also Ravi Shastri, Kohli and Dhoni have been taken into confidence.”
“This suggestion originated from Virat and MS in the discussions. The players wanted this category to be dynamic and to feature only the best performers,” Vinod Rai told.
Dhoni, who no longer plays Test cricket for India, along with Kohli wanted only those playing all three formats to be handed the top contract. In a sense, he put the interests of his players before his own.
The B category will feature KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma and Dinesh Karthik.
In Grade C will be Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Axar Patel, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel and Jayant Yadav.
The Grade B category contracts are worth Rs three crore, while those in Grade C are of Rs one crore.
The annual contracts are for the period from October 2017 to September 2018.