Indian team management fumes at Ranji reluctancy: 'In Hardik Pandya's case...' | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Indian team management vexed at cricketers' Ranji Trophy reluctancy: 'In Hardik Pandya's case…'

Feb 14, 2024 08:44 AM IST

It became a matter of grave concern amid the rising talk over Ishan Kishan continued absence from all forms of cricket.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are all set to take a decisive step against players idly waiting for the start of the 2024 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) without showing any interest in participating in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, which is almost done with its league stage. According to a report by the news agency PTI, the Indian team management is particularly furious at a section of players who have shown reluctance to be part of the domestic first-class tournament despite being fit.

India's bowler Hardik Pandya during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Bangladesh,(PTI)
India's bowler Hardik Pandya during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Bangladesh,(PTI)

It became a matter of grave concern amid the rising talk over Ishan Kishan continued absence from all forms of cricket. The India wicketkeeper-batter had taken a break during the middle of the South Africa tour reportedly citing mental health fatigue. Team head coach Rahul Dravid emphasised that if and when Ishan chooses to return, he has to show some game time before returning to the Indian side, hinting at wanting him to participate in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season for Jharkhand. But the 25-year-old has stayed out of six straight league games so far. Meanwhile, he was spotted practising with Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya in Baroda, which seemed that he has been gearing up for IPL 2024 instead, leaving BCCI officials irked, added the report.

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"The decision makers in BCCI are well aware that some players don't want to play any red ball cricket. If they are out of Indian team, they would at best play a few Mushtaq Ali T20 games and then not report for state team duty during red ball season," a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity. "To rein in such players, board in all likelihood will make it mandatory to play 3-4 Ranji Trophy games, failing which, they can't play IPL or even appear in IPL auction if released by their franchise. The state units feel unless the diktat comes from top of BCCI, some of the young stars will treat Ranji Trophy with disdain."

While the board official admitted that Hardik's case was different given his long struggle with a back injury, owing to which the all-rounder hasn't been part of the red-ball format since 2018, he revealed that other young players openly refuse to participate in Ranji Trophy.

"We can understand Hardik Pandya's case as his body can't take the rigours of red ball cricket. He can't withstand the workload of Test cricket and India needs him fit for ICC events. But some of the other youngsters, whenever you call them, they will cite that they are currently doing physio work. There needs to be a stop somewhere," the official said.

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