Dravid Opens Up on Contract Decisions and Reinforces Open Door Policy for Kishan and Iyer

In a thrilling conclusion to the five-match series, the Indian cricket team clinched a commendable 4-1 victory against England last Saturday at the picturesque Dharamsala stadium. The series, which began with a stumble for the hosts in Hyderabad, witnessed an astounding comeback under the leadership of Rohit Sharma. Despite the absence of cricket heavyweights Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami, a crop of young talent rose to the occasion, cementing their place in the grand narrative of Indian cricket.

Throughout the series, five players including Sarfaraz Khan donned the Indian Test jersey for the first time, each making a noteworthy impact that spoke volumes of their potential and readiness for international cricket. Following the series triumph, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) launched an enticing incentive scheme, aimed at invigorating the passion and commitment towards Test cricket within the nation.

India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, lauded the BCCI’s innovative approach and took a moment to reflect on the annual central contracts, which were rolled out last month. Among the news that caught the headlines were the omissions of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, two cricketers who lost out on their contracts. Reports suggested that their exclusion was rooted in an apparent lack of respect towards the longest format of the game, casting a shadow of uncertainty over their future with the national squad.

Yet, amidst swirling speculation, Dravid provided clarity and reassurance. At the post-match press conference in Dharamsala, the former Indian captain affirmed that both Kishan and Iyer remain contenders for national team selection. His stance was emphatic: performance in domestic cricket is the key to entering the selection conversation, not the possession of a BCCI contract.

“They’re (Shreyas and Ishan) always in the mix,” Dravid articulated. “Everyone who’s playing domestic cricket is in the mix. Firstly, I don’t decide contracts, right? Contracts are decided by the selectors and the board. I don’t even know what the criteria are. My responsibilities involve providing input on the pool of 15 players, from which me and Rohit select the playing XI. That’s our process.”

Dravid’s comments underscored a meritocratic selection policy deeply embedded within the Indian cricketing framework. “We’ve never discussed whether somebody has a contract or not, whether he’s going to be selected in the 15. There are sufficient examples of players representing the country across various formats, contracts notwithstanding. Frankly, I’m sometimes even unaware of who the contracted players are when making decisions about the squad or the playing XI.”

The head coach’s viewpoint reinforces the notion that the doors to the national team are never closed. Players need to focus on their fitness, form, and performances on the field to compel the selectors to consider them for inclusion.

Related Stories cover various topics, including the implications India’s win has on the World Test Championship points table, insights into captain Rohit Sharma’s thoughts on retirement, and England’s Ben Stokes expressing his determination to uphold the team’s aggressive playing style, popularly dubbed ‘bazball’, despite the series loss.

Dravid’s comments come at a time of introspection for Indian cricket, as the national team embarks on a journey to balance experience with youthful exuberance. The message from the head coach is clear: the path to the Indian dressing room is paved with performance and domestic success. Irrespective of the debates on contract statuses, Dravid’s affirmation throws a lifeline to players like Kishan and Iyer, itching to seize their moment under the sun once more.

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