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‘In my days, Sachin, Dravid and I…’: Ganguly’s ‘Kohli, Rohit’ take on red-ball vs white-ball debate amid contract row

Sourav Ganguly’s statement came after Ishan Kishan was excluded from BCCI’s annual retainership

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that contrary to the opinion among young cricketers, IPL career can go hand-in-hand with career in red-ball cricket. Ganguly, who played multi-format cricket during his days as an active cricketer, explained his point of view citing examples of yesteryear cricketers in him, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, and present-day stars in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma amid the BCCI central contracts row that saw Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer lose their contracts.

Sourav Ganguly believes IPL career can go hand-in-hand with career in red-ball cricket(File)

Kishan, along with middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, lost his BCCI contract after repeatedly ignoring the board’s diktat over participating in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season. Kishan had reportedly taken a break citing mental fatigue in December and only returned to action earlier this week in a domestic T20 league – DY Patil T20 Cup.

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In between, the board secretary had sent a letter to all centrally-contracted player to warn against prioritising IPL over domestic cricket participation, but Ishan did not pay heed to it and was instead seen practicing with Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya in Baroda, which irked the selectors, who had a major say in the retainer list. And weighing in on the same, Ganguly sent a reminder that being able to play both red ball and white ball shouldn’t be a problem for young Indian cricketers such as Kishan and Iyer.

“They can play both red-ball and white-ball. IPL career can happen along with stint in first-class cricket. They don’t clash. First-class cricket finishes and then there’s almost a month before the IPL starts. I don’t see any problem,” Ganguly told Times of India.

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“A lot of the top-quality players play Test cricket and white-ball cricket. You look at Kohli, Rohit, Bumrah, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. On the world stage, there’s Mitchell Marsh. He is Australia’s premier red-ball player now. Harry Brook plays red-ball cricket. David Warner played so much Test cricket but he was also one of the best white-ball players. Even in my days, Sachin, Rahul and myself played Test cricket and then played white-ball cricket. There’s no reason to say that you can play one and not the other.”

Ishan Kishan needs to be talked to: Ganguly

Ganguly reckons top BCCI officials in secretary Jay Shah and president Roger Binny, along with the selection committee should have a word with Kishan after the young wicketkeeper-batter was excluded from the annual retainership. Ganguly feels that not just Ishan, but all budding cricketers and youngsters need better guidance over what to prioritise over what to prosper their career.

Speaking to TOI, Ganguly questioned if playing Ranji Trophy in the past affected Ishan’s form before reckoning that BCCI top officers need to have a word with him following the contract saga.

“For someone like Ishan Kishan, BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Roger Binny and the selectors need to speak to him. All this while he has played Ranji and then played white-ball cricket. Has it made him a poorer player? It hasn’t,” he said.

The India batting legend further revealed that even in Delhi Capitals, where he serves as the Director of Cricket, every player picked has played in domestic cricket, even Ishant Sharma, who is no longer in reckoning to make a comeback to the Indian team.

“All the players picked in Delhi Capitals have played Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Ranji Trophy. Even Ishant Sharma has played Ranji. Khaleel Ahmed has played the full season after a long time. We worked with him in the off season and got him fit to play Ranji. There are only one or two exceptions who need to be spoken to,” he said.


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