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BCCI’s one-line explanation sums up Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer’s unceremonious snub from central contracts

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer didn’t find a place in the BCCI’s central contracts list for 2023/24.

The BCCI unveiled the annual player retainership for 2023-24 on Wednesday, with one of the biggest developments being the exclusion of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the senior players’ lists. In last year’s contracts, Shreyas Iyer held a place in Grade B, while Ishan Kishan was under ‘C’. However, their reported reluctance to participate in domestic cricket could now be coming back to haunt them.

Shreyas Iyer (L) and Ishan Kishan were not given central contracts for 2023/24(File)

Iyer had been reportedly drafted into the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad for the semi-final against Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, but it seemed to have made little impact on the BCCI’s decision for contract handouts.

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Also read BCCI terminates Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer’s central contracts with immediate effect; Rinku Singh, Tilak Varma included

The batter had skipped the quarter-final against Baroda after complaining of back pain, though the head of sports science and medicine at the National Cricket Academy confirmed in an email to selectors that there were no new injury concerns and that Iyer was deemed fit.

Ishan Kishan, meanwhile, has been away from action since November last year; he withdrew from India’s tour of South Africa owing to mental health concerns, as reported in December 2023. Since then, Ishan skipped the home T20Is against Afghanistan and didn’t make himself available for selection in the England Tests.

Throughout his absence, Indian head coach Rahul Dravid gave multiple statements indicating that Ishan needed to return to action in domestic cricket to be considered for selection in the international setup. However, the youngster didn’t play in the Ranji Trophy, and only returned during the DY Patil T20 Cup earlier this month.

What does the board say?

In a statement, the board clarified, “Please note that Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were not considered for the annual contracts in this round of recommendations.”

Earlier this week, Indian captain Rohit Sharma had delivered a firm message to hopefuls eyeing a spot in the national Test team: opportunities will be reserved for those who demonstrate a “hunger for success” in the “most challenging” format. Many fans considered this a message to Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, and following the announcements of central contracts, the theory fits.

“Jin logon ko bhookh hai, hum unhi logon ko mauka denge (We will give opportunities to only those who are hungry),” Rohit declared, making it clear that the team management is not willing to entertain players who do not display a burning desire to perform.

“Agar hunger nahi hai to unko khila ke koi matlab nahi hai (There’s point in playing those who don’t have the hunger),” he said.


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