India’s wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan has impressed one and all with his exploits in white-ball cricket so far, but he is yet to make his Test debut.
With Rishabh Pant unavailable due to a horrific car accident, KS Bharat performed the keeping duties for India against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year as Kishan warmed the bench in four home Tests.
Bharat was also preferred over Kishan for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 Final against Australia at The Oval last week.
The Indian team is slated to play two Tests in West Indies next month and there is a clamour for Ishan’s selection in the playing XI. However, the southpaw has surprisingly opted out of the East Zone team for the Duleep Trophy tournament.
Abhimanyu Easwaran will be leading the East Zone side while former India spinner Shahbaz Nadeem will perform the role of vice-captain.
Ishan Kishan’s decision to skip the first-class tournament has also shocked the East Zone selectors.
"Since he was in India squad for WTC final and KS Bharat, the man who kept wickets is playing for South Zone, we asked Zonal selection committee convenor Debasish Chakraborty to tell us if we could select Kishan," an East Zone selection committee member told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
"As he is a senior India regular in white ball, he would have got the captaincy. Chakraborty got in touch with Ishan over phone and came back and told us that he is not interested in playing Duleep Trophy. We were not told if he has an injury or not. Just that he doesn't want to play," he added.
According to the report, Tripura selector Jayanta Dey also contacted Wriddhiman Saha once Kishan made himself unavailable.
"To be fair to Wriddhiman, he said that Duleep Trophy is for India hopefuls. If I am never going to play for India, then doesn't make sense in preventing a youngster from making a case. Hence we selected Abhishek Porel, who was the third choice," the selector said.
East Zone Squad: A Easwaran (capt), Santanu Mishra, Sudip Gharami, Riyan Parag, A. Majumdar, Bipin Saurabh, A Porel (wk), K Kushagra (wk), S Nadeem (vc), Shahbaz Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Anukul Roy, M Mura Singh, Ishan Porel.
(With PTI Inputs)