Rising star Shafali Verma has been promoted from a Grade C to a Grade B central contract in the 2020-21 BCCI India Women retainer list.
Verma was one of three players to move up from a Grade C to a Grade B deal, alongside batter Punam Raut and spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
This year’s retainer list has been trimmed down to 19 from 22 last year, with Ekta Bisht, Veda Krishnamurthy, Dayalan Hemalatha and Anuja Patel missing out, and 17-year-old Richa Ghosh included for the first time.
Ghosh, who debuted in last year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final, is one of six players on a Grade C retainer worth INR 10 lakh.
Star all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur, top-order batter Smriti Mandhana and spinner Poonam Yadav are the three players to have earned a Grade A contract worth INR 50 lakh, with the remaining 10 players on Grade B INR 30 lakh retainers.
Verma’s promotion comes after topping the run-scoring for India on their way to a runners-up finish at last year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (163 at 32.60, strike rate of 158.25) and her star showing in the recent T20I series against South Africa (130 at 43.33, strike rate of 156.62). That is a run of performances that has seen her rise to the top of the ICC Women’s T20I batting rankings.
Raut, a veteran of 109 internationals, earned her promotion by starring in India’s ODI series against South Africa, scoring 264 runs at 87.66. Gayakwad was similarly impressive against the South Africans, taking eight wickets at 20.25 in the ODIs and four at 14.25 in the T20Is.
India Women contract list
Grade A: Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav
Grade B: Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Deepti Sharma, Punam Raut, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues
Grade C: Mansi Joshi, Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Priya Punia, Richa Ghosh