Pujara and Rahane to be demoted after poor show in Tests

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As the Indian team faces transition, the BCCI has decided to demote and promote some players.

There will be massive changes in the player contracts by the BCCI as Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ishant Sharma will see a slump from Grade A to Grade B.

The drafts were created for the period of Oct 2021- Sep 2022 and are ready for some months now. The official announcement will also be made in due time.

The contracts are formed on the basis of each player’s performance in the past year.

So, the players who will be promoted this year will be Mohammed Siraj and Axar Patel. Siraj may get promoted to Grade B or A; Axar may also see a rise from Grade C to B.

Umesh Yadav will drop down to Grade C and Shardul Thakur will remain on Grade B.

The division of contracts is done into four groups: A+, A, B, and C designate Rs 7 cr, 5 cr, 3 cr, and 1 cr.

The Grade A+ will not see any new names being added and Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma will keep their A+ contracts.

Kl Rahul and Rishabh Pant are going to remain in Grade A.

Shami, Ashwin, and Ravindra Jadeja will also maintain Grade A contracts.

According to a BCCI source,

The draft was made after the T20 World Cup. A final call will be taken soon. Indian cricket has to move forward and performances of new players can’t be ignored.

With Pujara and Rahane’s demotion, it is a signal that the selectors are starting to lose faith in the two-Test specialists. Both of them performed in the Test series Down Under in 2020-2021. But since then, their graph has continued to plummet.

Adding further, the source said,

As senior players, they are expected to score more in difficult situations. Ashwin is a tricky case because he has made a comeback in the white-ball format. But that has happened after the period under review. He has not played on the entire England tour but his performances in every game he has played has been outstanding.

BCCI eyeing Rahul, Gill and Pant

BCCI has now shifted its focus on the younger players of the team such as Mohammed Siraj, Shubhman Gill, Rishabh Pant, and KL Rahul.

Pant and Rahul were also considered to get Grade A+ contracts after their performances on the England and Australia tours. They are also certainties in all three formats of the game.

But, Rahul only got his opportunity in the playing XI during the England tour while Pant needs to keep working on his batting in order to become a better batsman. Pant also needs consistency in his batting.

The source added,

Pant is seen as a future leader. By the looks of things, it may take a little more time for him to mature as a senior player.

Jadeja and Hardik fit and raring to go

As the time for the selectors to pick the ODI and T20I teams for the West Indies tour is drawing near, they would like to put Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya in the squad.

Jadeja, who is undergoing rehab for a knee injury that he sustained during the home series against New Zealand is nearing recovery.

Hardik Pandya has also put in a lot of work in the aftermath of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 and is now also able to bowl at full tilt.

A source told TOI,

Jadeja is very close to being absolutely fit. He is definitely in contention to play in the home season when West Indies and Sri Lanka come to India.

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