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“No one is bigger than the game” – Madan Lal on annual BCCI contract
By SMCS - Mar 1, 2024 12:00 pm
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Former Indian coach Madan Lal said that Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan should have played the Ranji Trophy games to avoid BCCI’s latest directive of getting axed from the annual contract list. However, Shreyas and Kishan neither played for India nor their states, Mumbai and Jharkhand, respectively as well, in the ongoing Ranji season, leading to their exclusion. While Kishan opted out during the South African tour last year, citing mental fatigue, Iyer was left out from the Indian squad after the second Test against England.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

In an interview with TOI, Madan Lal said: “If the BCCI told them to play first-class cricket, they should have gone and played. No one is bigger than the game. The BCCI should be given the credit as they are making it mandatory to play first-class cricket. Most of the players nowadays are taking first-class cricket for granted because of the IPL. Definitely, the BCCI made a rule that every player should go and play first-class cricket. So if you don’t follow the rules, then they have to take some action and set an example for others.”

However, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were also part of the Indian squad that reached the 2023 World Cup final at home in November last year. While Iyer is back in the squad for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu, he did not make himself available for their quarter-final outing as well. Despite the latest setback, Madan Lal felt Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan could return to the side by proving fitness and form in first-class cricket.

shreyas iyer
Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan

“They have to play (first-class cricket) if they are fit. The main thing is fitness. If they are fit, then they can play the first-class season. But a good season in IPL can always be beneficial, and there is no doubt about their class. They have done so well here and there. But it is the BCCI making sure that the boys are disciplined,” said Madan Lal.

“It is true that players like Sarfaraz and Jurel are coming. But Kishan and Shreyas here have done well. It’s not that they are there without the performances. But the good thing is that we have a bench strength to replace them. And it’s very, very important to have team B as well as discipline within the team if we want to produce a better result,” concluded Madan Lal.