Updated February 26th, 2024 at 18:49 IST

'It is apparent who is not hungry': Rohit Sharma reveals new STRICT selection criteria for India

IND vs ENG: India skipper Rohit Sharma had a stern message for aspirants wanting to make the national Test team without putting in the hard yards,

Rohit Sharma | Image:BCCI
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In the past few months, Team India has grappled with a lot of off-field issues. Several got injured while Virat Kohli had to miss the India vs England due to personal reasons. Then there was the case of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer. While Iyer played in the initial few matches for India against England, Ishan has been completely missing from action since the start of 2024.

Ishan Kishan has given domestic cricket and Test cricket a miss due to personal reasons. He has been warned by several people from team management against the approach. Both Iyer and Kishan have been asked to play Ranji Trophy matches but have still given it a miss. BCCI gave a diktat recently asking players like Ishan, and Shreyas to turn up for Ranji Trophy matches, a missive that was ignored by the duo.

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Now, India skipper Rohit Sharma also had a stern message for aspirants wanting to make the national Test team without putting in the hard yards, saying that opportunities will only be given to those who show "hunger for success" in the "toughest" format.

ALSO READ | Virat Kohli's 'phenomenal' message for Team India after big win over England GOES VIRAL

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No Hunger, No Test cricket

India sealed a 17th straight Test series win at home after beating England by five wickets in the fourth Test here on Monday. New entrants like Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Akash Deep played decisive roles in the team's overall success, leaving Rohit mighty pleased and also quite clear about the kind of talent he wants in the side.

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"Jin logon ko bhookh hai, hum unhi logon ko mauka denge (We will give opportunities to only those who are hungry)," Rohit declared, making it clear that the team management is not willing to entertain players who do not display a burning desire to perform.

"Agar hunger nahi hai to unko khila ke koi matlab nahi hai (There's point in playing those who don't have the hunger)," he said.

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His comments came close on the heels of a BCCI diktat asking players like Ishan Kishan, and Shreyas Iyer to turn up for Ranji Trophy matches, a missive that was ignored by the duo.

"I don't see anyone in the team here who is not hungry. All the boys who are here and also those who are not, they all want to play. But the thing with Test cricket is that you get very few opportunities. If you don't utilise them, they go away," he asserted.

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The 25-year-old Kishan skipped the Ranji Trophy for his state Jharkhand, but was spotted in Baroda, training with Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya for the IPL scheduled next month.

IND vs ENG: Is IPL pushing away players from Test cricket?

Asked if the cash-rich league is affecting the drive for Test cricket among young players, Rohit said, "Test cricket is the toughest format. If you want to excel and achieve success in this format, you have to show the hunger." Without naming anyone, Rohit pointed out the stringent selection criteria set by the team management.

"Yeh pata chal jata hai kisko bhookh nahin hai aur kin logon ko yahan pe rehna nahin hai. Yeh pata chalta hai. Jo logon ko bhookh hai, tough conditions mein khelna hai, un logon ko preference diya jayega. (It becomes apparent who is not hungry and who does not want to stay here. Those who are hungry, who want to play in tough conditions, will be given preference). It's very simple," he emphasised.

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"IPL is a very good format for us, but this is the toughest format and difficult to excel. You have to work hard to win...the last three wins didn't come easy, bowlers had to do long spell, batsmen had to grind it out. It's tough," he explained.

Rohit further hailed the youngsters' performance particularly that of Jaiswal, who has scored two double hundreds so far, and wicketkeeper-batter Jurel, whose efforts in both the innings proved match-winning for India here.

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"To adapt to the style of our play, these guys have come with an open mind and are ready to put their hands up and do it. That is the kind of guys we need in our squad. Basically putting the team before individual," he said.

"Moving forward, it's a big plus for us. They showed they belong here, they have ability, skills to excel in this format. a lot of these guys are quite young, you will see these guys playing quite regularly in this format in the coming 5-10 years for sure," he added.

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 17:13 IST