The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Thursday announced the annual player contracts of the India women's cricket team for the 2022-23 season.
While there was quite some movement within the 'grades' due to the retirement of legends Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, the most interesting factor of the announcement was that the board completely omitted mentioning how much players in each of the grades would earn!
When the men's team's contracts were announced on 26 March, it was specified that Grade A+ players would earn Rs 7 crore and subsequently players in the next three grades would make Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore. This component of the women's contract announcement has completely been left out, leaving everyone guessing as to how much our star women players will actually make.
When the women's contracts were made public last time, Grade A players earned Rs 50 lakh while Grade B and C players earned Rs 30 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.
A total of 17 women's team players have been given central contracts this time with captain Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and all-rounder Deepti Sharma placed in Grade A, the highest bracket of the contracts.
Pacer Renuka Singh and wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh are the new entrants in the Grade B division alongside batters Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad. Meanwhile, Grade C has new additions in fast bowlers Meghna Singh and Anjali Sarvani.
The right-left arm fast-bowling duo are alongside allrounders Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Harleen Deol and Devika Vaidya, wicketkeeper-batter Yastika Bhatia and right-handed batter Sabbhineni Meghana in Grade C.
Other notable omissions from the 17-member contract list include veteran pacer Shikha Pandey, who earned a recall during this year's Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav, who last played for India in March 2022, as well as wicketkeeper-batter Taniya Bhatia and fast-bowling all-rounder Arundhati Reddy.
India's next international assignment will be a tour of Bangladesh in June for three ODIs and as many T20Is. Previously in this month, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had tweeted that the board will soon issue advertisements for various positions for being in the support staff of the women's team, while stressing that best coaches will be roped in to help the players realise their full potential and achieve excellence on and off the field.
BCCI Central Contracts List
Grade A: Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma
Grade B: Renuka Singh Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
Grade C: Meghna Singh, Devika Vaidya, Sabbineni Meghana, Anjali Sarvani, Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Yastika Bhatia
(With inputs from IANS)