Kolkata: Middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh returned to the top tier of BCCI`s contracted cricketers, while Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli were also promoted to Grade A in the new list announced on Saturday.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan retained their places in Grade A, which now has 12 players instead of nine.
The yearly contract amount which was decided here at a working committee meeting, was kept unchanged at Rs one crore for Grade A, 50 lakh for Grade B and 25 lakh for Grade C.
The Cricket Board also increased the number of contracted players from previous year`s 24 to 36 with the addition of 11 new players in Grade C.
Yuvraj, who was yesterday named in the Indian squad for the first Test against the West Indies after recovering from an injury, returned to the top tier after one year. He was demoted to Grade B last year.
Despite a listless show in India`s full tour of England this summer, which led to his axing from the home ODI series against England and the first Test squad against the West Indies, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh managed to retain his place in Grade A.
Young batsman Suresh Raina, who was dropped from the first Test squad against West Indies, was also retained in the top tier.
Ishant Sharma was rewarded for his decent show in the England tour while Kohli also got the nod for his impressive show in the ODI series in England and at home though he flopped in the Test series in the West Indies.
Pacer Praveen Kumar and Pragyan Ojha retained their places in the five-player Grade B category while Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja were promoted from Grade C.