Former Pakistan cricketer and current commentator Ramiz Raja has hit out at Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for giving Grade A contracts to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Shahid Afridi despite the two players not participating in the longest format of the game, according to a report by News 18. The former Pakistan captain also demanded more respect for Test cricket from the Asian boards. “You have to acknowledge and respect the status of Test match cricket and it has to come from the cricket boards, in Asia specifically. For example, MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from the BCCI, Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket yet got the A-grade contract from PCB,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Raja also demanded a better plan for the longer format of the game so that it doesn’t lose interest due to the growing competition from ODIs and T20s. “It is under a lot of stress in Asia but if we have a properly planned Test match championship, that’s the way out of this, otherwise we will be struggling to put aside as much money as is available for the T20 leagues,” he added.
Raja isn’t the first man to question Grade A status for MS Dhoni. Earlier, Ramachandra Guha in his resignation letter from CoA had raised a similar point. “Unfortunately, the superstar syndrome has distorted the system of Indian team contracts. As you will recall, I had pointed out that awarding MS Dhoni an ‘A’ contract when he had explicitly ruled himself out from all Test matches was indefensible on cricketing grounds, and sends absolutely the wrong message,” he had written.