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Mithali Raj, India women’s ODI captain, has been downgraded to a Grade B central contract, while 15-year old Shafali Verma has become the youngest woman cricketer to break into BCCI’s central contracts pool, for the 2019-20 season.
Mithali now joins fellow senior-member Jhulan Goswami in the 30-lakh retainer bracket after announcing her T20I retirement. However, both remain in the frame for the 50-over format with the next World Cup in New Zealand exactly 12 months away.
The annual retainers remain the same as in 2018-19, with those in Grade A – Harmanpreet Kaur, the T20I captain, Smriti Mandhana, T20I vice-captain, and Poonam Yadav – set to get INR 50 lakh.
Left-arm spinner Radha Yadav and wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, who were given a Grade C contract (10 lakhs INR) for the previous year, earned a promotion to Grade B (worth INR 30 lakhs). Meanwhile, top-order batters Harleen Deol, Priya Punia and Verma were handed first-time contracts in Grade C. The only one missing out from the previous list altogether was Mona Meshram.
Verma’s elevation to a BCCI central contract comes following a swift rise up the ranks. Having impressed with her ball-striking ability during the Women’s T20 Challenge in May, she was handed an international debut during South Africa’s tour of India in September.
She has since gone on to play in nine T20Is, hitting 222 runs including two half-centuries at a strike rate of 142.30. Verma recently impressed for India A during the tour of Australia, and remains in frame to be a regular opener, along with Mandhana, at the T20 World Cup in February-March.
Grade A (INR 50 lakhs): Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav
Grade B (INR 30 lakhs): Mithali Raj, Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav
Grade C (INR 10 lakhs): D Hemalatha, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mansi Joshi, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Priya Punia, Punam Raut, Shafali Verma