Kohli, Rohit's Ranji absence raised: 'Just to penalise Kishan, Iyer not correct' | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Kohli, Rohit's Ranji absence raised by World Cup winner as Kishan, Iyer punished: 'Just to penalise the two not correct'

By, New Delhi
Mar 01, 2024 07:43 AM IST

The 1983 World Cup winner Kirti Azad reckoned that the BCCI rule should apply to every member of the Indian cricket team, even Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Premier batters Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were dropped from the Annual Player Contracts list for 2023-2024 shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday. While India's trio of KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj joined superstars Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya in the A grade, veterans Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja retained their places in the top bracket for the remainder of the season.

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma haven't played a Ranji game in years(BCCI-X)
Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma haven't played a Ranji game in years(BCCI-X)

Ignoring the directive to play Ranji Trophy, Iyer and Kishan failed to retain their places in the player contracts list unveiled by the apex cricket board of India. In the media advisory, the BCCI confirmed that Iyer and Kishan were the two players not considered for the annual contracts in the round of recommendations. Coming out in support of the BCCI, 1983 World Cup winner Kirti Azad observed that the rule should apply to every member of the Indian cricket team.

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'Even if you're a Rohit Sharma or a Virat Kohli, you should go back'

"It (directive) is a very good move. Everybody should be playing Ranji Trophy cricket, but currently the emphasis is on the IPL. It is good, it is entertaining but the real cricket is the (five) days' cricket. Playing in domestic cricket is good, it keeps you in touch. But whenever you are free, even if you're a Rohit Sharma or a Virat Kohli, you should go back and play domestic cricket for the state. That (state) gave you the opportunity to be a player, get selected and then play for the country," Azad told news agency PTI.

‘Just to penalise Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan not correct’

"Just to penalise the two is not correct, I think everybody should be penalised. Everybody should be seen with the same mirror," the former Indian cricketer opined.

Iyer will captain Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Mumbai batter was an integral part of the Indian side at the ICC World Cup last year. Iyer was slotted in Grade B of the BCCI contracts list while Kishan had a Grade C contract. Kishan opted to take a break from cricket for personal reasons when India toured South Africa after the World Cup.

'Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri would play for their sides'

Released from India's Test squad for the England Test series, Iyer failed to show up for Mumbai in the Ranji quarterfinal. Kishan did not play for Jharkhand in the Ranji season. However, the Indian wicketkeeper-batter featured in the DY Patil T20 Cup in Mumbai ahead of the IPL 2024.

"My question is, are they playing enough domestic cricket? They are playing T20 cricket, nowadays and every other state has a T20 cricket league. Back in the days when we were starting our careers, players like Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal, Surinder Amarnath, Mohinder Amarnath, Chetan Chauhan, Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Karsan Ghavri played alongside youngsters like me and Ravi Shastri. All these senior Test team players would play for their sides, would play for the pride of their state which seems missing in the youngsters nowadays," Azad added.

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