‘Few players will suffer but let it be’: Kapil Dev praises BCCI’s commitment to domestic cricket

The legendary Indian cricketer, Kapil Dev has come out in strong support of the latest move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which saw seven players being left out from the centrally contracted list for the men’s senior team for the 2023-24 season. His endorsement of BCCI’s commitment to enriching domestic cricket has brought the issue into sharp focus within the cricket community.

The BCCI, governing body of cricket in India, made the audacious move of excluding prominent cricketers such as Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, both of whom were prospects for the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 from their annual contracts which were announced on Wednesday. This decision has polarized opinions among fans and veterans of the sport, with a significant portion interpreting it as a clear warning to players who seem to be disinterested in playing domestic cricket after gaining international recognition.

Echoing the board’s sentiments, Kapil Dev, whose illustrious career included participation in more than 500 domestic matches, acknowledged that while some players might indeed suffer due to these contract revisions, the larger cause of prioritizing national interests over individual careers was a commendable stance. “Yes, few players will suffer, kuch logon ko taqleef hogi, hone do lekin desh se badhkar koi nahi hai (some people will feel hurt but let it be because nobody is bigger than the country), well done,” emphasized Kapil, as reported by PTI. He also expressed his disappointment in seeing established international cricketers neglecting the domestic circuit.

Kapil has long been an advocate for domestic cricket, and he strongly believes that international players taking part in their state teams not only aids their own career but also lends invaluable support to the domestic players who are looking to make their mark. This mutual interaction between the different tiers of cricket ensures a healthy cricketing environment where talent can be recognized and nurtured at the grassroots level.

Further delving into the implications of BCCI’s tough decision, Kapil reiterated the importance of the step saying, “It was high time the message was given and this strong step by the BCCI will go a long way in restoring the prestige of domestic cricket. I have always believed in the process of international players making themselves available to play for their respective states. It helps them extend their support to domestic players. Also, it is a nice way to pay back for the services rendered by the state association in grooming a player.”

The current scenario highlights the contrasting cases of Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer. Ishan, currently not a part of team India’s ongoing Test series against England, missed the entire Ranji Trophy 2024 season. Meanwhile, Shreyas is slated to participate in Mumbai’s semifinal match against Tamil Nadu, which is starting on March 2.

The incident has invoked conversations around the participation of high-profile players in local tournaments, particularly at a time when the rich tapestry of domestic cricket seems to be losing its charm and importance among the established stars. While the allure of the international arena is undoubtedly strong, the BCCI’s decision serves as a reminder that the foundation of the national team lies in its domestic structure, which has historically been the launchpad for numerous cricketing legends.

As India continues to thrive as a cricketing nation, such bold moves by cricketing bodies are imperative to ensure the health and continuity of the domestic game, which not only feeds into the international team but also sustains the passion and dreams of thousands of aspiring cricketers across the country. Kapil Dev’s backing of this philosophy resonates with many who believe in the sanctity of domestic cricket and its significance to the sport as a whole in India.

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