Kirti Azad welcomes BCCI’s new directive in central contract
By SMCS - Mar 1, 2024 11:00 am
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Former Indian wicketkeeper-batter Kirti Azad has supported the Board of Control in India (BCCI)’s new directive of insisting players fully play in domestic competitions when not playing for the national side. Notably, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were recently excluded from the BCCI annual contracts due to their non-participation in the ongoing Ranji Trophy games as well.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

Speaking to the PTI, Azad said, “It (directive) is a very good move. Everybody should be playing Ranji Trophy cricket, but currently the emphasis is on the IPL. It is good, it is entertaining but the real cricket is the (five) days’ cricket. Playing in domestic cricket is good, it keeps you in touch. But whenever you are free, even if you’re a Rohit Sharma or a Virat Kohli, you should go back and play domestic cricket for the state,”

Again said Azad, “That (state) gave you the opportunity to be a player, get selected and then play for the country. Just to penalise the two (Iyer and Kishan) is not correct, I think everybody should be penalised. Everybody should be seen with the same mirror.”

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However, Virat Kohli has played only one Ranji game (in 2021) since making his Test debut, and Rohit Sharma hasn’t featured for his state in the red-ball format since 2015 as well. While Kishan was part of India’s squad for the South African tour in December last year, Shreyas Iyer played as recently as the second Test of the ongoing series against England as well.

shreyas iyer
Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

“My question is, are they playing enough domestic cricket? They are playing T20 cricket, nowadays and every other state has a T20 cricket league. Back in the days when we were starting our careers, players like Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal, Surinder Amarnath, Mohinder Amarnath, Chetan Chauhan, Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Karsan Ghavri played alongside youngsters like me and Ravi Shastri,” said Kirti.

“All these senior Test team players would play for their sides, would play for the pride of their state which seems missing in the youngsters nowadays. Look at county cricket; there are 20-plus counties and there are numerous three-day and four-day games along with T20 cricket, but every player is involved there. If a player is left out of the Test squad, then he returns to play for his county. So why can’t we have our players playing those domestic matches, that’s the big question,” Kirti Azad concluded.