The last-minute inclusion of Irfan Pathan in category C is the only talking point in the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) naming of its annual contracts.
The former pinup boy of Indian cricket has fallen out of favour of late and sources say there is a question mark over his fitness. The list includes 41 with Irfan's elder brother Yusuf Pathan also in Grade C, which earns the players Rs 25 lakh a year.
“Although he is playing, his fitness isn’t beyond doubt,” said someone close to the scheme of things. “The selectors are aware of his availability, not so much about his fitness when it comes to non limited-over games.”
“I’m very happy to be in the scheme of things. I have scored runs, took wickets in Ranji Trophy. That’s all I can do,” said Irfan.
Otherwise, the list of players handed out contracts ranging from Rs 60 lakh a year to 15, isn’t full of surprises. The list was made with the consent of the BCCI president (Shashank Manohar), its secretary (N. Srinivasan) and selection committee chief K. Srikkanth.
The list announced sometime during Wednesday didn’t include the name of Irfan. “Irfan Pathan’s name was erroneously left out of the retainership list that was sent to the media earlier today. He is part of the list and figures in Grade C,” said Srinivasan in a press release.
Almost all the players who figure in the domestic scheme of things are there in the four categories.