Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were both in India’s World Cup squad and featured for the country in international cricket across formats. Kishan was India’s first-choice keeper in white-ball cricket after Rishabh Pant met with an accident. Kishan had a golden chance to become India’s first-choice keeper in Tests as well with good show in South Africa. Alas, that did not happen. 

Iyer played some of the best ODI innings of his life in the World Cup. He hit a hundred in the semifinal clash of the World Cup vs New Zealand. He was India’s No 5 fir the last one and a half years in Tests. 

Today, these two cricketers have been declined annual contracts from BCCI? But why? What is their fault? What led to BCCI punishing them like this? Let’s take a look at how things panned out since World Cup last year. 

It all started in December 2023 when Ishan requested BCCI for a break from cricket. This request cam right before the Test series and Kishan was a part of the squad. His request was approved and Kishan back to India. However, reports poured in after some days that BCCI management was upset with him as Kishan was allegedly partying in Dubai. When the Ranji Trophy season began, Kishan skipped one match after the other for Jharkhand. This irked BCCI further. 

Kishan was eventually not considered either in selection for Afghanistan T20Is and then England Tests. Rahul Dravid, speaking to the press before the T20Is, had said that Kishan is required to play some cricket for consideration for selection. At that point of time, he was unavailable for selection. Dravid’s statement was comprehended differently as many thought he was asking Kishan to play domestic cricket. Later, ahead of the Visakhapatnam Test, Dravid clarified his earlier statement, saying what he meant was that Kishan needed to play some cricket, not necessarily domestic cricket, to be considered for selection.

It must be noted that in the period from Kishan flying back to India and then appearing in Baroda in February , his social media was also inactive. It was not known where he was and what he was doing before a report emerged that he was practicing with Hardik and Krunal Pandya at the Kiran More’s academy. Kishan continued to miss the Ranji Trophy gamesand chose to focus on fitness training and is now playing the DY Patil T20 Tournament in Mumbai with Hardik Pandya.

Jay Shah, in his speech during the inauguration of the Niranjan Shah Stadium in Rajkot, sent a strong message to all India cricketers, asking them to give domestic cricket their utmost priority.

“They (the players) have been informed on phone already and I’m going to write letters as well that if your chairman of selectors, your coach and your captain are asking for it then you will have to play red-ball cricket.” He made it official when he sent a mail to all the centrally contracted players.

As a result, when BCCI released the central contracts, we got to know that Shah was not merely sending a warning but he had indeed walked the talk.

What happened with Shreyas Iyer?

Shreyas Iyer’s case is entirely different from that of Kishan. Iyer, in fact, played a Ranji Trophy game for Mumbai before the England tour to get back among runs. BCCI’s release said that Iyer and Kishan were not ‘considered’ for contracts. It is kind of strange how the board has lost faith in Iyer so soon as he recently played two Tests for India against England. He did not make it to the squad for the last 3 Tests against England. 

Dravid had categorically mentioned in the press conference that Iyer had missed out on the selection. There were no injury concerns but Iyer reportedly cited one as the reason for missing Mumbai’s quarterfinal clash. Later, National Cricket Academy’s medical team told BCCI that Iyer was totally fit and there was not even a niggle. 

This act by Iyer must have pushed BCCI to take action against him. By dropping these two cricketers off the contracts list, the message is clear: play domestic cricket, give priority to red-ball cricket, and do not just focus on T20 cricket.

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