Manjrekar, Pathan divided after Iyer, Kishan not given BCCI central contracts | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer's snub from BCCI central contracts polarises ex-India stars Manjrekar, Pathan: 'Unbelievable'

Feb 29, 2024 11:21 AM IST

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were not included in BCCI's central contracts for 2023-24 attracting different reactions from former India cricketers.

On Wednesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced its centrally contracted players for the 2023-24 season, with some notable exclusions stirring controversy. Among the absentees were Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, both of whom found themselves omitted due to their failure to adhere to the directive regarding Ranji Trophy participation.

Shreyas Iyer during a practice session before a Test cricket match against South Africa(PTI)
Shreyas Iyer during a practice session before a Test cricket match against South Africa(PTI)

Ishan Kishan, the 25-year-old wicketkeeper-batter, opted out of representing Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy despite being available and not on national duty since his return from the South Africa tour in December. Instead, Kishan chose to focus on preparing for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, seemingly prioritizing franchise commitments over domestic cricket.

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Also read BCCI's one-line explanation sums up Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer's unceremonious snub from central contracts

On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer, the middle-order batter, faced criticism for his decision to skip Mumbai's crucial Ranji Trophy quarterfinal clash against Baroda. Iyer, who was dropped from the Indian team after the second Test against England, did not make himself available for selection, raising questions about his commitment to domestic cricket amidst his absence from international fixtures.

The BCCI's decision to exclude Kishan and Iyer from the central contracts is yet another major step from the board towards marking the importance of participation in domestic competitions for Indian cricketers. Despite the allure of lucrative franchise leagues like the IPL, the board had been emphasising the significance of representing one's state team in tournaments like the Ranji Trophy.

How ex-India cricketers reacted to Kishan and Shreyas Iyer's contract snub

And former Indian batter Sanjay Manjrekar supported the decision made by the BCCI. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Manjrekar stated that the BCCI has rewarded players who want to play “tough” cricket.

“Well done to @BCCI for rewarding players who want to play the tough cricket and only for one reason…to face the ‘acid test’ as cricketers,” wrote Manjrekar.

The BCCI also issued an advisory in their press release announcing the contracts, urging all Indian cricketers to prioritize domestic cricket when not engaged in international duties. However, former India bowler Irfan Pathan seemed a little displeased with the board's call; roughly a few minutes after BCCI's announcement, Pathan wrote, “Unbelievable!” on his Twitter account.

While the board has received significant support for their rigid decision, it is worth noting that both, Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer had been regular members of the Indian team until the World Cup 2023. Iyer further took part in India's tour of South Africa, and the first two Tests against England, too.

The 29-year-old put an impressive shift throughout the marquee 50-over global tournament in October-November last year, scoring 530 runs in 11 matches at an average of 66.25.

Clearly, the duo's decision not to take part in the Ranji Trophy despite being available for the domestic tournament took precedence for the BCCI, as it cracked the whip on Iyer and Kishan.

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