'In the name of looking after body...': Irfan goes point-blank at Shreyas Iyer | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'In the name of looking after body...': Irfan Pathan goes point-blank on Shreyas Iyer's mysterious withdrawal from Ranji

Feb 22, 2024 09:45 PM IST

Shreyas Iyer withdrew from Mumbai's Ranji Trophy knock-outs despite reportedly being fit.

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that Shreyas Iyer opted out of Mumbai's Ranji Trophy knock-outs after complaining of a back issue; however, he was given the fitness clearance to play in the domestic tournament by the National Cricket Academy (NCA). The development came shortly after another Team India star, Ishan Kishan, had also made himself unavailable for Jharkhand's team selection.

India's batter Shreyas Iyer walks back to the pavilion during the 2nd Test(PTI)
India's batter Shreyas Iyer walks back to the pavilion during the 2nd Test(PTI)

Despite repeated reminders from head coach Rahul Dravid and BCCI's guidance for players to participate in domestic red-ball matches, Iyer's unusual decision to make himself unavailable – despite being reported fit – has raised concerns. Former Indian bowler Irfan Pathan suspects there's something suspicious about the entire situation and didn't hesitate to express concerns regarding Iyer's circumstances.

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“Is there a different rules for different players for not playing Indian first class cricket in the name of looking after the body?” Pathan wrote on his official X – formerly Twitter – account.

Iyer was omitted from the Indian team for the final three Tests against England following a prolonged period of poor form in red-ball cricket, during which he failed to score a half-century in 13 consecutive innings.

Although he encountered issues with his lower back and groin while batting in the second Test in Vizag, both the BCCI medical team and the NCA staff deemed him fit. Despite being available for selection, the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee chose to drop him and recommended that he participate in the Ranji Trophy. However, Iyer chose not to follow this advice.

This revelation comes just four days after the BCCI secretary expressed satisfaction with the Indian Premier League's consistent success over the years, but he noted that the unexpected trend of players prioritising domestic cricket over the IPL was not foreseen.

"… there is a trend that has started to emerge and is a cause for concern. Some players have begun prioritising the IPL over domestic cricket, a shift that was not anticipated. Domestic cricket has always been the foundation upon which Indian cricket stands, and it has never been undervalued in our vision for the sport," Jay Shah wrote in the letter addressed to players.

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