Sandeep Patil: BCCI Must Award Contracts to Shaw, Agarwal & Others
Prithvi Shaw (left) and Mayank Agarwal were among the notable absentees from the BCCI’s list of 25 centrally-contracted Indian cricketers for 2018/19.
Prithvi Shaw (left) and Mayank Agarwal were among the notable absentees from the BCCI’s list of 25 centrally-contracted Indian cricketers for 2018/19.(Photo: The Quint)

Sandeep Patil: BCCI Must Award Contracts to Shaw, Agarwal & Others

The BCCI’s list of centrally contracted Indian cricketers for 2018/19 has been met with a few raised eyebrows.

The idea of a contract system, awarded to senior and junior players alike, is something we could never have dreamed of. The recognition and incentive accorded to the present Indian crop is something we couldn’t have thought of in our wildest imagination.

But cricket has changed with time, and it has changed for good – and nobody from our generation has any complaint with the BCCI’s central contract scheme.

In fact, hats off to the BCCI, and the think-tank behind the system, for providing our cricketers not just an incentive, but also an assurance.

It has only been beneficial to the players; it has driven them to lifting their standards and improving their performances.

The only grievance I have with this year’s list is the omission of upcoming players like Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.

Both have started their international career positively. yet neither finds a contract in his hand.

In my opinion, it is essential to recognise the talent of India’s bench strength. I say this out of having been part of the process myself – when together with the BCCI establishment of the time, I was involved in awarding central contracts not only to established stars, but also the players who were trying to cement their spots in the Indian team.

The idea worked well, and no questions were raised during my tenure of four years.

The guys who form today’s Indian team were the bench strength from six years ago, players on whom we had kept a keen eye in the domestic circuit.

I also feel for players such as Murali Vijay, 300-man Karun Nair, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav and some others who have represented India – and done well at that – but now find themselves without an annual contract.
Rishabh Pant was the most significant gainer, going from not holding a contract to a straight Grade A contract (worth Rs 5 crore).
Rishabh Pant was the most significant gainer, going from not holding a contract to a straight Grade A contract (worth Rs 5 crore).
(Photo: AP)

Also Read : New Central Contracts Out: Dhawan, Bhuvi Demoted, Pant in Grade A

One must look at the broader picture; those responsible for the decision need to show more faith and confidence in players.

I wonder whether the selectors have done real justice in drawing up their list.

Rishabh Pant has emerged as the blue-eyed boy, it appears – but Prithvi Shaw hit a hundred on Test debut, and it seemingly went unnoticed. Not too long ago, Karun Nair hit a triple century – but that seems forgotten too.

I am sure questions are going to be asked of those who have been part of the decision-making behind the central contracts. Is it a mistake? Have selectors over-looked certain players? Or have these players missed the cut on technicalities?

One way or the other, corrections should be made immediately. As I said earlier, the whole idea behind this contract system is to encourage players, to provide assurances to them – not to discourage them.

It’s great that the top-performing cricketers can now slot into the A+ category, but for a player to lose a contract after performing well is wrong, and I hope the BCCI takes note.

Also Read : Indian Cricket Contracts: Shaw, Shankar Headline List of Absentees

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