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"If This Doesn't Apply To All...," Irfan Pathan Questions Hardik's BCCI Contract

Irfan Pathan suggested that Hardik Pandya should play List A and T20 cricket, if not First-Class matches.

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BCCI, on Wednesday, released the list of the players to receive annual contracts this year. The list took everyone by surprise as two key players were absent- Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, who reportedly weren't included due to not paying enough attention to domestic cricket.

However, at the same time, Hardik Pandya, who has been out of international action since the 2023 ICC World Cup, made it to the list, causing several people to raise questions over BCCI's decision.

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Ex-Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan expressed his doubt on X by recommending that the criteria should be the same for everyone. Hence, even Pandya should be asked to play domestic cricket.

Hardik had been regular with white ball cricket before picking up an injury, but as far as white ball cricket is concerned, the all-rounder has not been so consistent with it given the selectors' doubt over his body being able to manage the workload of a Test match.

In such a case, Pathan suggested that Hardik can focus on domestic white-ball cricket if his focus is not to play Test cricket internationally and can hence, take part in List A and T20 matches- Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy respectively.

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Pathan took to X and wrote, "If players like Hardik don't want to play red-ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in white-ball domestic cricket when they aren't on national duty? If this doesn't apply to all, then Indian cricket won't achieve the desired results!”

He also wished Kishan and Iyer to come back stronger and wrote, "They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they bounce back and come back stronger."

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BCCI secretary Jay Shah earlier had written a letter to top players, asking them to prioritize domestic cricket when not representing the national team, failing to do which can lead to 'severe implications'.

"Our vision for Indian cricket has been clear from the outset – every cricketer aspiring to play for India must prove themselves in domestic cricket. Performance in domestic cricket remains a critical yardstick for selection and non-participation in domestic cricket will carry severe implications," wrote Shah.

“There is a recent trend that has started to emerge and is a cause for concern. Some players have begun prioritizing the IPL over domestic cricket, a shift that was not anticipated. Domestic cricket has always been the foundation upon which Indian cricket stands, and it has never been undervalued in our vision for the sport,” he further added. 
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However, despite these warnings, Ishan Kishan didn't take part in Ranji Trophy for Bihar while Shreyas Iyer bowed out of the quarter-final between Mumbai and Baroda, which took place from 23-27 February, after citing back pain.

Nitin Patel, head of medicine and sports sciences at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bangalore wrote to the selectors at Mumbai Cricket Association, claiming that Shreyas was fit to play and no fresh injuries were incurred by him.

However, the right-handed batter, made himself available for the semi-final against Tamil Nadu, scheduled for Saturday, 2 March.

Hardik also made his comeback to competitive cricket by taking part in the DY Patil T20 Cup in which he will be representing and leading Reliance 1. Ishan too is a part of the tournament and is playing for Reserve Bank of India.

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Topics:  Shreyas Iyer   Irfan Pathan   Ishan Kishan 

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