No Ranji Trophy, No IPL: After Ishan Kishan Fiasco, BCCI Takes Stern Step – Report

Jharkhand keeper-batter Ishan Kishan’s reluctance to play first-class cricket and focus only on the IPL could prompt the BCCI to make a minimum number of Ranji Trophy games mandatory for players in order to be eligible for the cash-rich league’s lucrative auction pool. It has been learnt that BCCI brass has already instructed Kishan to play Jharkhand’s last group league game against Rajasthan in Jamshedpur, starting February 16. The manner in which Kishan had skipped match after match after returning midway from South Africa tour citing “travel fatigue” hasn’t exactly gone down well with men who matter in the Indian cricket establishment.

More so after it was found that he is training in Baroda with his new MI skipper Hardik Pandya while his state team is languishing near bottom of group A table.

There is a general consensus that a strict policy need to be adhered to so that a group of young players don’t make “playing IPL to IPL” a habit.

“The decision makers in BCCI are well aware that some players don’t want to play any red ball cricket. If they are out of Indian team, they would at best play a few Mushtaq Ali T20 games and then not report for state team duty during red ball season,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

“To rein in such players, board in all likelihood will make it mandatory to play 3-4 Ranji Trophy games, failing which, they can’t play IPL or even appear in IPL auction if released by their franchise.

“The state units feel unless the diktat comes from top of BCCI, some of the young stars will treat Ranji Trophy with disdain.” It is understood that even Indian team’s think-tank are pissed off with a certain section of players, who are always reluctant to play Ranji Trophy even when they are fit.

“We can understand Hardik Pandya’s case as his body can’t take the rigours of red ball cricket. He can’t withstand the workload of Test cricket and India needs him fit for ICC events.

“But some of the other youngsters, whenever you call them, they will cite that they are currently doing physio work. There needs to be a stop somewhere,” the official said.

It will be interesting to find out if Kishan finally leaves his “new training base” in Baroda and is back in Jamshedpur for Jharkhand’s final game of the tournament.

Asked if Kishan would find himself out of BCCI retainership (he has a grade C annual contract of Rs 1 crore), the official said: “No discussions have taken place as of now regarding central contracts.”

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