The Mumbai Indians and Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan’s unwillingness to play domestic first class cricket and instead prioritize the IPL may compel the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to mandate that Indian team players must participate in a certain number of Ranji Trophy matches to be eligible to play in the IPL and be included in the T20 league’s auction pool.
According to some news reports, the top officials of the BCCI have directed Ishan Kishan to play in Jharkhand’s final Ranji Trophy group match against Rajasthan starting this Friday, no matter what.
Kishan’s absence from the games after citing mental exhaustion as the reason for taking a break from the test series against South Africa has not been well received by the top officials of the BCCI. The situation became even more problematic when the 25 year old was seen in a video practicing with the new captain of the Mumbai Indians, Hardik Pandya, while his state team, Jharkhand, is struggling near the bottom of the Ranji Trophy’s group A standings.
There is widespread agreement that a firm policy must be followed so that a group of young cricketers do not make playing only in T20 leagues like the IPL a regular practice. “The people in charge at the BCCI know that some players are not interested in any first-class cricket. If they are dropped from the Indian national team, they might at most play a few games in the Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament and then not show up for their state side during the multi-day cricket season, a high-ranking BCCI figure told PTI anonymously.
“In order to control such players, the board will probably make it compulsory to play 3–4 Ranji Trophy matches. If players do not do so, they will be barred from playing in the IPL or even participating in the IPL auction if released by their franchise.
The state associations feel that unless this directive comes from the top BCCI leadership, some young stars will continue to treat the Ranji Trophy with contempt. It is understood that even the Indian team’s leadership is angry with certain players who are always unwilling to play the Ranji Trophy even when fit to do so,” the BCCI high-ranking figure added.
“Hardik Pandya’s situation is comprehensible since his body struggles to handle the demands of long-form cricket. He is unable to cope with the intensity of Test matches, and India needs him in peak condition for major ICC tournaments.
However, some other young players, when summoned, claim they are undergoing physiotherapy. There must be a limit imposed at some point,” the official remarked. It will be curious to see whether Kishan ultimately departs from his “new training center” in Baroda and returns to Jamshedpur for Jharkhand’s final match of the competition.
When inquired as to whether Kishan would lose his BCCI retainer contract (he has a grade C yearly contract worth Rs 1 crore), the high-ranking BCCI figure said: “No conversations have occurred so far concerning central contracts.”
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