Updated March 16th, 2024 at 12:26 IST

‘What was going on in their heads’: Harbhajan's clear-cut stance on Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

Harbhajan Singh justifies BCCI's omission of Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from contracts, believing the decision aims at fostering their future development.

Reported by: Aryan Suraj Chadha
Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer | Image:Screengrab/BCCI
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Indian cricket team fans were left in disbelief following the BCCI's surprising decision to exclude Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the list of contracted players. This move came in the wake of the board's ultimatum, urging players to engage in domestic cricket during periods of absence from national duties. The unexpected omission of these talented players has sparked discussions and raised questions about the selection criteria for player contracts in Indian cricket.

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Harbhajan Singh opined on Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s situation

Harbhajan Singh, the former Indian cricket team bowler, has encouraged Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan following their demotion from the annual BCCI contract list. Despite not playing for India or their respective state teams, Mumbai and Jharkhand, in the Ranji Trophy at the time of the contract announcement, Harbhajan sees this setback as a chance for growth and development as a cricketer.

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While Shreyas finally returned to the Mumbai side for the semi-final and final matches, where he played an important part by scoring a critical 95 runs in the latter, Kishan was absent from the Ranji season owing to Jharkhand's elimination before the knockouts.

Speaking to Hindustan Times at the Legends Cricket Trophy in Sri Lanka, Harbhajan emphasised the necessity of viewing this exclusion as a wonderful learning opportunity for both players. Harbhajan feels that by taking this setback constructively, Iyer and Kishan can become better versions of themselves as their cricket careers progress. Harbhajan Singh quoted: 

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“It's a learning curve for them. Whatever step was taken was for their betterment, that is how they should take it. I look at this in a rather constructive way because from hereon, I feel they could emerge as better players. But we still do not know what was going on in their heads. They are both brilliant cricketers and I feel they will win a lot of matches for India in the future,”

“Every player is available for the selection process. Now whether they will be selected is a different aspect because it depends on their form and whether the team requires their services. Just because they don't get a contract, it doesn't mean it's the end of the road for them,”

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Things didn't go as planned for Shreyas and Kishan after their impressive performances in the 2023 World Cup. Due to mental tiredness, Kishan chose to withdraw from the South Africa tour, and Shreyas was dropped from the squad following the second Test match against England. 

The fact that neither player has a central contract shouldn't discourage them, according to Harbhajan Singh, because both players are vital to India's success. Even though Shreyas' back ailment prevented him from playing in the previous season's Indian Premier League for KKR, Kishan is anticipated to make a comeback for the Mumbai Indians on March 24 against the Gujarat Titans.

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Published March 16th, 2024 at 12:00 IST