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Aakash Chopra Defends BCCI’s Decision On Hardik Pandya’s Grade A Contract
By CricShots - Mar 1, 2024 6:57 pm
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Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has voiced his support for the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to award a central contract to Hardik Pandya. The BCCI recently unveiled the list of centrally contracted players for the 2023-24 season, with Hardik Pandya placed in the Grade A category. This move has sparked debates on social media, with fans questioning the decision based on Pandya’s recent lack of international and domestic cricket appearances due to injury.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

Aakash Chopra, however, defended the BCCI’s choice in a video on his YouTube channel. He emphasized that Hardik Pandya should not be penalized for not participating in first-class cricket, especially since he is not vying for a place in the Indian Test squad.

“Hardik Pandya’s case is very simple. Why would you punish him if he has not made a mistake? He is not playing red-ball cricket. That ambition or aspiration does not exist anymore. He has not said that as such, but the truth is that he is not available at all for any Test series,” explained Aakash Chopra.

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Aakash Chopra pointed out that since Hardik Pandya is not auditioning for Test matches, there is no obligation for him to partake in first-class cricket. He highlighted Pandya’s physical limitations, particularly his bowling workload, as a reason for not playing four-day games.

“Why would you play four-day games when you don’t have that much strength in your body to bowl so many overs and have injury problems? So why should he play – fair play,” added Aakash Chopra.

Addressing the chronological aspect of the issue, Chopra outlined the sequence of events regarding Hardik Pandya’s absence from domestic cricket. He highlighted the cricketer’s injury during the 2023 ODI World Cup, which has kept him sidelined. Chopra clarified that Pandya’s case is distinct from that of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, who were excluded from central contracts after not participating in the Ranji Trophy.

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“Let’s try to understand the chronology slightly. It will just clear up your mind why a different rule has been kept for him and why it is wrong to include him with Ishan and Shreyas,” explained Aakash Chopra, providing context to Hardik Pandya’s situation.

Despite his injury, Hardik Pandya is set to make a return to competitive cricket as the captain of the Mumbai Indians in the upcoming IPL 2024. Fans hope that Pandya will regain full fitness ahead of the T20 World Cup in June.