Updated February 29th, 2024 at 13:55 IST

'If players like Hardik..': BCCI questioned for double standards after Shreyas & Ishan snub by Irfan

BCCI terminated Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer's central contracts, while Hardik Pandya, who has not featured in Tests since 2018, secured a place in Grade A.

Hardik Pandya's grade in BCCI called into question | Image:AP/BCCI
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BCCI decided to take action against Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan for their refusal to play Ranji Trophy matches when not playing for Team India. Despite repeated warnings, Ishan continued to ignore Rohit Sharma and Jay Shah's advice to play domestic cricket, instead focussing on IPL 2024. On the other hand, Shreyas Iyer skipped a Mumbai match despite getting a clearance from the National Cricket Academy.

This resulted in BCCI deciding to exclude the talented players from the central contract list. The move was seen as a bold move due to Iyer and Ishan seen as potential superstars of world cricket. Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya who doesn't play Test cricket and hasn't played domestic cricket since the ODI World Cup received a A Grade in the contract. This move has been met with some criticism. 

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Former India pacer Irfan Pathan questioned the BCCI's decision to deny central contracts to Kishan and Iyer for ignoring a diktat to play the Ranji Trophy, saying that players like Hardik have not been judged on the same parameter.

The BCCI on Wednesday terminated Kishan and Iyer's central contracts, while Pandya, who has not featured in Tests since 2018, secured a place in Grade A.

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Irfan Pathan calls out differential treatment for Hardik

"If players like Hardik don't want to play red ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in white-ball domestic cricket when they aren't on national duty?" he questioned BCCI's decision, in his post on X.

"If this doesn't apply to all, then Indian cricket won't achieve the desired results!" he added.

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The 25-year-old Kishan did not turn up for Jharkhand throughout the team's campaign in Ranji Trophy despite not being on national duty since leaving from the tour of South Africa in December last, citing personal reasons.

He has instead focussed on preparing for the IPL next month. He is competing in the ongoing DY Patil T20 Tournament in Mumbai and will be turning up for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

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Iyer did not make himself available for Mumbai's Ranji quarterfinal against Baroda after being excluded from the Indian team following the second Test against England, citing a groin injury.

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He, however, has been picked for the Ranji semifinals starting March 2 and will be back to lead Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL beginning on March 22.

Irfan believes that the duo will come back strongly.

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ALSO READ | 'Why is Hardik Pandya in Grade A?': BCCI lambasted after announcing central contracts list

"They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they bounce back and come back stronger," he said.

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The exclusion of Iyer and Kishan is being seen as a stern message to young players unwilling to put in the hard yards in first-class cricket, while chasing white-ball glory and lucrative IPL contracts.

On Wednesday, former India coach Ravi Shastri also backed the embattled duo.

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"In the game of cricket, comebacks define the spirit. Chin-up, @ShreyasIyer15 and @ishankishan51! Dig deep, face challenges, and come back even stronger. Your past achievements speak volumes, and I have no doubt you'll conquer once again," Shastri had posted on X. 

(with PTI inputs) 

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 13:14 IST