Why Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were snubbed by BCCI

The BCCI has asked players to "give precedence to participating in domestic cricket during periods when they are not representing the national team".
Ishan Kishan (File photo)
Ishan Kishan (File photo)

CHENNAI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC() have followed through with the threat of not considering cricketers who don't turn up for domestic games when they are free from national commitments. Both Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer have been excluded from the 2023-24 list released by the Board on Wednesday.

A look at the issue...

What's the backstory

For Ishan Kishan

The wicket-keeper batter had requested a break and the BCCI had given him one just before the red-ball leg of the South Africa tour in December. After the second Test at Visakhapatnam, coach Rahul Dravid had said: "... I don’t want to go on labouring about the Ishan Kishan point. He had requested a break, we were happy to give him the break. Whenever he was ready, I didn’t say he had to play domestic cricket, I said 'whenever he is ready, he needs to play some cricket and come back'. The choice is his. We are not forcing him to do anything, we are in touch with him, it is not that we have not been in touch. He has not yet started playing right so at the moment it is not something we can consider."

A week or so after Dravid's comment, the BCCI secretary, Jay Shah, while addressing the media on the sidelines of a function at Rajkot (3rd Test) had said: "They (the players) have been informed on phone already and I'm going to write letters as well that if your chairman of selectors, your coach and your captain are asking for it then you will have to play red-ball cricket."

Shah followed that with a written communique to the centrally contracted players where the Board more or less made this policy mandatory. There were only two exceptions: you would be excused if you were representing the country at the time or if you were recovering from an injury.

Kishan, who just returned to competitive cricket in a low-grade T20 match, didn't satisfy those exceptions. So, the 25-year-old, who has been a regular for India in white-ball cricket for the last three years (32 T20I games, 27 ODI matches and two Tests) has not been considered at this time.

Ishan Kishan (File photo)
Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan dropped from BCCI central contracts after ignoring diktat to play Ranji Trophy

For Shreyas Iyer

The Mumbai batter began the first two Tests of the England tour on pretty strong footing. He was widely recognised as one of the better players of spin in the line-up. However, below-par scores in each of his last four Tests saw him sidelined when the squad was announced for the next three games. He had also complained of back problems and pain in the groin area after the second Test. But it was reported that the medical staff deemed him fit for selection (the selection committee, then, had dropped him).

The expectation, then, was that he would go on to feature for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy (to be fair to Shreyas, he did feature for them earlier this season after coming back from the South Africa tour). He missed the quarter-finals but is expected to feature for them in the last four match-up against Tamil Nadu.

Outside of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the 29-year-old is one of the most experienced batters in this set-up, having earned more than 120 caps across the three formats (14 Tests, 59 ODIs and 51 T20Is).

Does this mean both players won't be considered for selection in the immediate future?

After the last and final Test against England, the Indian Premier League means India don't have any fixtures till the start of the T20 World Cup in the US and the West Indies. It's a format where they are not necessarily locked anyway. However, in the press release issued by the BCCI on Wednesday, there is an important rider.

"Please note that Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were not considered for the annual contracts in this round of recommendations," it read.

Considering the BCCI do not have a history of revising player contracts in a short span of time, they are unlikely to feature on the list for the year. But they can still be selected for the national team in any format.

Ishan Kishan (File photo)
Ishan Kishan's absence from Ranji Trophy continues

Does anything else in the release stand out?

Yep, two points. One, they have asked all centrally contracted cricketers to play domestic games.

A) "The BCCI has recommended that all athletes give precedence to participating in domestic cricket during periods when they are not representing the national team".

B) "Additionally, athletes who meet the criteria of playing a minimum of 3 Tests or 8 ODIs or 10 T20Is within the specified period will automatically be included in Grade C on a pro-rata basis. For instance, Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan, having played 2 Test matches so far, will be inducted into Grade C if they participate in the Dharamsala Test Match, i.e., the 5th Test of the ongoing series against England."

Contracted players' list (period from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024)

Grade A+ (Rs 7 crore; all figures as per last contract)

Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja

Grade A (Rs 5 crore)

R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya

Grade B (Rs 3 crore)

Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Yashasvi Jaiswal

Grade C (Rs 1 crore)

Rinku Singh, Tilak Verma, Ruturaj Gaekwad, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, KS Bharat, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Rajat Patidar

The selection committee have also recommended fast-bowling contracts for Akash Deep, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Umran Malik, Yash Dayal and Vidwath Kaverappa

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express