Even as Rahul Dravid continues to struggle with his lean patch, the BCCI reposed its faith in the middle-order batsman by retaining him in the Grade A of the central contracts announced on Monday.
Dravid has been offered Grade ‘A’ along with eight other players, increasing the number to nine in the top grade as against seven in the last season.
Joining Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in the top grade are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh.
The quartet was offered Grade B last season. Besides, Ishant Sharma has taken a big leap into Grade B from Grade D on the back of his wonderful showings during the last one year.
Dinesh Karthik, on the other hand, has slipped to Grade ‘D’ from Grade ‘B’.
Those losing their contracts include Joginder Sharma, Manoj Tiwari, Ranadeb Bose, Aakash Chopra, Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar.
The new recipients include Virat Kohli, Ashoke Dinda, Wriddhiman Saha, Chetnya Nanda, M. Vijay, R. Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, Manpreet Gony, Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra.
While most of the new players have been accommodated in Grade ‘D’, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha have been offered Grade ‘C’.