India’s top cricketers have been awarded massive pay hikes, with a retainer of about US$1-million (about R12-million) for the new top-rated A+ category, encompassing those who play in all formats.
The previous highest grade was less than a third of that. Retainers in the lower grades went up similarly.
However, the contracts were a departure from last year’s attempts to keep Test specialists among the top-tier earners. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, fixtures in India’s limited-overs sides but always fighting for a spot in the Tests, made it to the newly introduced A+ category alongside captain Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
However, Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane found themselves in the A category after being among the best paid Indian cricketers last year.
Murali Vijay, too, previously in the top category, found himself in the second-best group. There was also acknowledgement that MS Dhoni doesn’t play enough cricket to merit the top category he had last year. However, their retainers still went up from US$300,000 to about US$770,000.
For the first time since 2015, the women’s pay scale has been updated following a stellar performance in the World Cup last year. The top category went from about US$23,000 to US$92,000. Grade B increased three-fold from $15,000.
Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Harmanpreet Kaur retained their Grade A contracts, and were joined by Smriti Mandhana.
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