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How missing Ranji Trophy games resulted in Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan being dropped from BCCI’s central contract list

In an unprecedented move aimed at sending a strong message to those neglecting domestic cricket commitments, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has omitted Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from the annual contract list.

This decision follows the players’ refusal to participate in their domestic teams despite BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s issuance of a strongly-worded letter to all contracted players, urging their involvement in domestic cricket. Hardik Pandya, who has been sidelined due to an ankle injury since the World Cup, retains his Grade A contract.

Sources indicate that the exclusion of both players, who played pivotal roles across all formats for India in 2023, was recommended by selectors and approved by the secretary. This development holds significance for Iyer and Kishan, especially with the T20 World Cup approaching in three months. Their chances of selection for the event in the US and the Caribbean appear slim, potentially impacting their immediate future with the national team.

This contract snub arrives at a critical juncture for both players, integral parts of India’s white-ball cricket plans. While they are expected to participate in the IPL, their national team prospects hinge on active involvement in domestic cricket. According to sources, “Ishan requested a break but failed to report to the National Cricket Academy or his state unit, opting instead to train independently. Consequently, the BCCI had no choice but to exclude him from the central contract. Similarly, Shreyas’ absence from Ranji matches for Mumbai, citing back and groin pain, was scrutinized by the BCCI’s medical team, which found no fitness issues. The door remains open for both players provided they commit to regular domestic cricket.”

Shreyas, notably, performed well at the World Cup, amassing 468 runs, including two centuries and three fifties, establishing himself as a key player. Despite struggling in Tests, he received opportunities before being dropped midway through the ongoing series against England. While Shreyas has been included in Mumbai’s squad for the Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu, Ishan’s situation is marred by dissatisfaction surrounding his break. Despite being granted rest for the Test tour due to personal reasons, Ishan’s absence from domestic cricket and discontent over limited opportunities across formats have raised concerns. Head coach Rahul Dravid has made it clear that for Ishan to be considered for selection, active participation in domestic cricket is imperative.

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