5 players who played for India without central contract in 2015/16
After being demoted from Grade A to Grade B in the 2015/16 contracts, Suresh Raina would have been even more disappointed now that he doesn’t feature in BCCI’s Grade A, B or C contracts for 2016/17. The all-rounder wasn’t picked for the Deodhar Trophy and his chances of playing in the ICC Champions Trophy in June look slim.
But the fact that he hasn't been awarded a BCCI central contract shouldn't dash his hopes of playing for his country. After all, just last year, there were several players, both established players, and newbies who came through and became regulars in the side without a central contract to their name.
Hardik Pandya didn’t have a central BCCI contract in 2015/16 but has been an integral part of India’s limited-overs squad. Here are 5 players who played for India despite having no contract in 2015/16:
#5 Gautam Gambhir
There can be little doubt that Gautam Gambhir is one of India’s finest openers. However, despite his contribution to India’s two World titles in 2007 and 2011, international cricket seemed to have passed him by and he had to be content with leading Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League.
After all, his last T20I was in 2012 and ODI was in 2013 and the format that he most likely looked to be selected for as well, Tests, also seemed beyond him after KL Rahul and Murali Vijay had established themselves as a solid opening pair. But the opener's ability to continuously churn out runs helped him make a comeback.
But in 2016, he made a comeback to Test cricket after two years. Although he played only two Tests and was only called in due to injury concerns that loomed over Rahul and Vijay, he still made a fifty and is still in the reckoning for a Test spot should another injury arise.