While revising the central contracts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to do away with Grade D.
The gradation committee comprising BCCI president Shashank Manohar, secretary N Srinivasan and chairman of national selection panel K Srikkanth met in Chennai on Thursday to announce the list of 24 players who will be under central contract.
Not only did they hike the players' annual retainer, they also offered a huge hike in match fees across all international formats.
The BCCI, however, shrunk the list of contracted players by getting rid of Grade D, which was added in the last two contract cycles.
While the 2008-09 contracts were offered to 38 players - 14 in Grade D in the 2009-10 cycle, the number had swollen to 41 with 17 players in Grade D.
BCCI secretary N Srinivasan conceded that the BCCI wanted to put a premium to India contract.
"We didn't want too many people," Srinivasan told HT from Chennai.
"After all, to be a contracted player is a big thing, so we felt that one has to really perform to earn it."
The BCCI president-elect, however, did not agree that they had committed a mistake by enlarging the contracted players' pool for the last two cycles.
"I am not saying that those who are not there (now) did not earn it. All that I am saying is it's (contracted players') not an easy club to get into," said Srinivasan.