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Why is MS Dhoni getting Grade-A contract? Ex-Pakistan star scoffs at BCCI

MS Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket during India’s tour of Australia 2014-15 for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Former Pakistan star Rameez Raja has questioned BCCI on the logic of awarding Dhoni a top-grade contract

cricket Updated: Jul 06, 2017 14:34 IST
MS Dhoni,Rameez Raja,Shahid Afridi
India's MS Dhoni plays a shot during the fourth One Day International (ODI) match against West Indies.(AFP)

Former cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja has urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ‘respect’ Test cricket, asking why the likes of MS Dhoni and Shahid Afridi (as an active Test cricketer) were provided with Grade A contracts despite having announced their respective retirements.

Afridi had retired from Test cricket in 2010 and MS Dhoni had shocked one and all by announcing a shock retirement during India’s tour of Australia 2014-15 for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

While MS Dhoni had retired midway through the Australia tour, Afridi’s retirement announcement came right after he played a Test after a gap of four years, in England.

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Raja, who recently attended the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting, has urged both PCB and the BCCI to play their part, as he called for a two-month window in international cricket calendar only for Test cricket.

After attending the meeting held at Lord’s on Tuesday, Raja said, “I feel that the ICC has a decent plan in the shape of the World Test Championship. There should be a window for that and everything else should stop for a period of two months so the best players are available to play Test cricket.”

He was quoted as saying by AFP, “It’s got to get better. In Asia, for example, because of poor Test match scheduling, the interest is dwindling. When you go back home you are never sure if you are going to have a one-Test series, a two-Test series or whether you are going to have a Test series at all.”

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“You have to acknowledge and respect the status of Test match cricket and it has to come from the cricket boards, in Asia specifically. For example, MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from the BCCI, Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from PCB,” Raja added.

Raja said a ‘properly-planned Test championship’ could be a solution. “It is under a lot of stress in Asia but if we have a properly planned Test match championship, that’s the way out of this, otherwise we will be struggling to put aside as much money as is available for the T20 leagues,” Raja said.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 17:13 IST