BCCI Central Contracts: Did Cheteshwar Pujara deserve A+ contract?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India recently announced the contracts for the 2018-19 season, and surprisingly, there were only three players who bagged an A+ contract, skipper Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah. One of the conspicuous omissions from this category was Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been India's prolific batsman in Test cricket. Did he deserve an A+ contract? We decode.
What are BCCI's A+ and other central contracts?
The BCCI offers four types of central contracts: A+, A, B and C. The A+ is the top-most category and players receive Rs. 7 crore per year, while the A contract has a price cap of Rs. 5 crore. As for other contracts, contract B has a price cap of Rs. 3 crore, while contract C has a price cap of Rs. 1 crore.
Which contract has been offered to Pujara?
Pujara, who was the holder of the A category contract last season, has been retained in the same tier. The BCCI is not transparent about the methodology behind offering the central contracts to players. However, it is being speculated that Pujara was offered A category contract since he only plays Test cricket. Notably, he last featured in white-ball cricket at international level in 2014.
Test cricket players should be given preference
Interestingly, ex-BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said, "It was disappointing not to see Pujara's name in A-plus list. It's highly unfair that Tests are not given importance by the CoA. After enjoying such a fantastic season in international cricket, Pujara deserved to be in A-plus bracket."
Pujara's brilliance in India's historic Test series win Down Under
Recently, it was Pujara's excellence with the bat that allowed India to register a historic Test series win in Australia. He scored 520 runs in seven innings at an average of 74.42, including three centuries and a half-century, while his highest score was 193. Apart from the bat, he played his role on the field and claimed three crucial catches as well.
Although just Tests, Pujara's records have been phenomenal
It is certain that Pujara's strength is mostly limited to red-ball cricket. Nonetheless, if we take into consideration his performance in Tests since March 2018, he has played 11 matches and scored a total of 930 runs at an average of 54.70, including four centuries and three half-centuries. His highest score is 193 against Aussies. Although debatable, this author thinks Pujara deserves A+ contract.