The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had announced new contract system and compensation structure for Indian cricket with 26 players in senior men's team list.
They added a new category (A+) for selected players in the team, who appear in all the three formats. The annual contracts are for the period from October 2017 to September 2018.
It was said that MS Dhoni has been removed from the elite category, however, Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai revealed that it was Dhoni and Virat Kohli who wanted an A+ grade for top
"This A+ category was proposed by the players themselves. We had a discussion about this category with Dhoni and Virat. They proposed that there should be category of world-class excellence in which players who play all three formats of the game should be there," Rai told PTI in an exclusive interview.
"This should be a functional category where players move in and out. Also, it will show that the best in the business are rewarded as per performance," he added.
Rai was impressed with the bonding between Kohli and Dhoni. "Their camaraderie is exceptional with so much mutual respect. Virat respects Dhoni's cricketing acumen and Dhoni respects what Virat is achieving as a player," he said.
Rai revealed Virat felt that there was no keeper who could replace Dhoni in limited overs cricket at the moment.
"Virat feels that there are no faster pair of gloves than MS Dhoni today. Also, Dhoni's cricketing mind honed over so many years is an asset for Virat. As far as how many years of cricket is left in him, time and his performance will tell," he said.
The new contract has good earning for domestic cricketers as well. "These increases have been proposed in consultation with the players. Domestic players, who were getting Rs 10-12 lakh per annum, will now get Rs 20-22 lakh per annum in addition to the earnings from Gross Revenue System (profits from TV broadcast).
"Now with this kind of salary, domestic players can concentrate on their game without looking for jobs," Rai said.
Some BCCI office bearers were not consulted for the contract, Rai thinks a discussion with players was enough. "We discussed with players and we placed the proposal to the office-bearers. The package was there with them from September (2017) and there's nothing new in it. Finance committee did not meet is a fact but package was known to them," said Rai.
"They did not even have any comments to make. Finally, when we again met the players (during Sri Lanka series), we showed them and they did it was reasonable. So we decided to put it out as players have contracts and their insurances are in place before IPL," he said.
Rai said it is better to interact directly with cricketers than officials to take better steps for them. "Nobody knows the plight of the cricketers than the cricketers themselves. They are interacting with cricketers everyday. In fact, it was the cricketers who gave us names of former players who are facing difficulty in getting two meals together."
The CoA chief said no administrator should forget that they are there because of those 11 people who sweat it out on the cricket field. "The only thing we should never compromise is cricketers' benefit. Whether it is the administrators or the media, we all sustain because 11 people play on the ground," he concluded.