The central contracts are divided into 4 Grades: A+, A, B and C. Ravindra Jadeja was reportedly considered for the Elite category, but the BCCI inexplicably decided to stick with only Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
The A+ grade, which promises INR 7 crore annually, is reserved only for all-format players while considerations are also given to the players' ICC rankings.
Ravindra Jadeja has been a part of India's squad in all three formats for the better part of the last decade. Moreover, the southpaw ranks in the top 10 in both ODIs and Tests while being a consistent performer in the shortest format.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, MSK Prasad, who was part of the decision-making process for the contracts previously, agreed that there was no solid reason for Ravindra Jadeja's omission.
”Jadeja is a genuine A+ candidate. Those who play all formats and have good ICC rankings are included in the list. I cannot see any reason why he was not considered for A + Grade,” said MSK Prasad.
There has been no official confirmation on why Ravindra Jadeja was excluded, but one plausible reason is that the 32-year-old hasn't played much cricket in the last 6 months due to injury.
"I can see Rishabh Pant in A+ soon" - MSK Prasad
Another all-format superstar who has missed out on a top-tier contract is Rishabh Pant. MSK Prasad admitted that the wicketkeeper-batsman is still not a certainty in all three formats but expects him to be included in the A+ category soon.
“I can see Pant in A+ soon. He is not regular now but it will be difficult to ignore him for the grade. Both Jadeja and Pant could be at the top bracket soon,” added MSK Prasad.
A total of 10 cricketers including Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant, are in Grade A. Grade B has 5 players while Grade C has 10 including the recently demoted Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.