Explained: Why Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were dropped from BCCI’s annual central contract list?


In a decisive move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), two prominent cricketers, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, have faced substantial consequences for not adhering to the board’s directive regarding participation in domestic cricket. Both players have been omitted from the annual central contracts list, a sign that the BCCI is serious about its policies.

Shreyas Iyer, who had been dropped from the Test team following the second match against England in Visakhapatnam, did not make himself available to represent Mumbai in the crucial stages of the Ranji Trophy. Allegedly recovering from a back spasm, Iyer’s decision not to play raised eyebrows, especially when Mumbai reached the quarter-finals stage.

Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, abstained from the Ranji Trophy entirely, instead making his return to competitive play at the DY Patil T20 Cup. Kishan’s absence from both the South Africa Tests—due to personal reasons—and the T20 International squad against Afghanistan, led to scrutiny. Even with opportunities to join the squad, it was noted by coach Rahul Dravid that Kishan had not made himself available and would need to engage in domestic cricket to have a chance at returning to the national team.

The selectors who propose contract recommendations to the board expressed dissatisfaction with Kishan’s decision to train independently in Baroda with Hardik Pandya rather than compete in domestic matches, as indicated by ESPNCricinfo reports.

As for Shreyas Iyer, while declared fit by the BCCI medical team, conflicting reports emerged from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) claiming Iyer suffered back spasms. Iyer’s situation was further complicated by his presence at a training camp for the Kolkata Knight Riders instead of playing for Mumbai. This decision did not sit well with the selectors, who expect players to prioritize their domestic teams when not on national duty.

A BCCI official, while acknowledging the inherent talent of both players, stated, “The selectors don’t doubt their ability. But if the NCA is saying you are fit and you are not making yourself available for the Test series, how can the BCCI offer you a contract?” It was further disclosed that both Iyer and Kishan have the opportunity to regain their contracts if they can fulfill the playing conditions required for consideration, subject to future selection.

This announcement emerged as the BCCI unveiled its list of centrally contracted players for the 2023-24 season, with a clear emphasis on the importance of domestic cricket for athletes. The Grade A+ contracts, with payouts of INR 7 crore, have been awarded to Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja.

Others in Grade A, receiving INR 5 crore, include stars like R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, and Hardik Pandya. Grade B players with contracts of INR 3 crore comprise Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, and Yashasvi Jaiswal, among others. The final category, Grade C, with a contract value of INR 1 crore, sees the inclusion of numerous talented players like Rinku Singh, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, and many more.

This recent contract adjustment serves as a stark reminder of the BCCI’s commitment to domestic cricket and its crucial role in the development of players. It is a clear indication that adherence to the board’s policies is non-negotiable, and those who do not comply may find themselves facing significant professional setbacks.

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