India’s teen batting sensation – Shafali Verma was on Wednesday promoted to Grade B in the BCCI’s annual contracts list as the cricket board reduced the number of contracted players from 22 to 19. The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the Annual Player Contracts for Team India – Senior Women – for the period from October 2020 to September 2021. BCCI retained 19 players in total, with T20 International captain Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav given the top contract. Legends Mithali Raj — who captains the Test and ODI teams — and pacer Jhulan Goswami were among 10 players to get Grade B contracts.

The Grade A which offers annual retainer fees of Rs 50 lakh once again comprised of three all-format players — Twenty20 skipper Harmanpreet, her deputy Smriti and leg break bowler Poonam Yadav.

The Grade B has an annual retainer fee of Rs 30 lakh and veterans such as Jhulan Goswami, Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma are among 10 players in this bracket.

“Shafali is seen as the biggest superstars that we will have in years to come and hence it wasn’t a surprise that she got elevated to Grade B from C. Punam Raut was rewarded for her good show in the South Africa series and she has also been promoted to Grade B,” a senior BCCI official said.

Young Richa Ghosh has been included in the Grade C which makes players richer by Rs 10 lakh. It has has six cricketers this year, five less than the last time.

The two notable names dropped from the 19-strong list are batter Veda Krishnamurthy and left-arm spinner Ekta Bist.

The others, who were dropped include Dayalan Hemlatha and spinner Anuja Patil, who featured in the last year’s list.

Grade A (Rs 50 lakh): Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav

Grade B (Rs 30 lakh): Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma, Punam Raut, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues

Grade C (Rs 10 lakh): Mansi Joshi, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Priya Punia, Richa Ghosh.