New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli, batsman Rohit Sharma and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah have been included in the top category of the list central contracts of the Board of Control for India's (BCCI).
These three players in the A+ category will receive Rs 7 crore each. Kohli, the fastest to reach the 10,000 ODI (One-Day International) runs milestone last year, reportedly earned around $20 million from brand endorsements.
Having reached the number one spot in the ICC rankings for ODI batsmen in 2013, Kohli also found success in the Twenty20 format, winning the man of the tournament award twice at the ICC World Twenty20 in 2014 and 2016.
In 2014, he became the top-ranked T20I batsman in the ICC rankings, holding the position for three successive years until 2017. Since October 2017, he has been the top-ranked ODI batsman and is currently the leading batsman in the Test rankings.
Kohli was appointed vice-captain of the ODI team in 2012 and handed over the Test captaincy in 2014, following Mahendra Singh Dhoni's retirement from Test cricket. In early 2017, he became the ODI captain as well after Dhoni stepped down from that position.
Rohit Sharma who recently crossed the 8,000-run mark in ODIs, reportedly, makes around $8.6 million from brand endorsements.
Dropped from the India squad for the 2011 World Cup, Rohit made his presence felt with consistent scores in ODIs and the man of the series award during the West Indies tour in 2011.
With Sachin Tendulkar retiring from Tests and ODIs in 2013, Rohit looked set to be a permanent fixture in the Indian team across all formats. Rohit ended up as India's second-highest scorer at the 2015 World Cup with an impressive 137 against Bangladesh in the quarter-finals, further cementing his place in the top order.
He added another feather to his hat when he led Mumbai Indians to their second IPL title in 2015. His innings in the final and batting throughout the tournament was key to Mumbai's turnaround in the competition.
Bumrah, the top-ranked ODI bowler in the ICC rankings, claimed 78 Test wickets, 22 ODI wickets and 8 T20I wickets in 2018. An unusual sling-arm action and abundant natural pace make it difficult for batsmen to pick Bumrah's deliveries.
Introduced last year, Kohli, Sharma, Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar made it to the 'A+' category in 2018. Kumar and Dhawan have now been demoted from the top bracket to the 'A' category.
Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav and Rishabh Pant are the other players in the 'A' category.
The players in this category are paid Rs 5 crore per year.
Pant made an explosive entry to international cricket last year and has been suitably rewarded with a Grade A contract. For his performances in England and Australia, Pant was named the 'emerging player of the year' in 2018.
One of the main spinners in ODIs, Kuldeep Yadav has been key to India's success in white ball cricket. He has also been consistent with his performance in every opportunity he got in Test matches.
Pujara played a key role in India's maiden Test series victory in Australia.
Players in the 'B' category, which includes Lokesh Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Hardik Pandya, are paid Rs 3 crore.
Slapped with a three ODI ban due to sexist comments on television chat show 'Koffee With Karan', Pandya is now back in the team and will fancy his chances for a place in India's World Cup squad later this year.
Rahul, also present at the chat show, faced a similar ban. He enjoyed a superb run during last year's IPL when he hammered 659 runs in 14 innings.
Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed and Wriddhiman Saha are in the 'C' category and take home Rs 1 crore each.
Rayudu also had a fantastic 2018 IPL season when he scored 602 runs in 16 innings for Chennai Super Kings. His show in the league paved his way back into the Indian team.
Jadhav had produced an excellent performance in the final of the 2018 Asia Cup where he battled severe cramps to take India beyond the victory line.