Kirti Azad says Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli should also play domestic cricket

BCCI removed Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from list of central contracts.

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli | AFP1983 World Cup winner Kirti Azad backed the BCCI's directive for cricketers to play the Ranji Trophy, saying it's a good move and the rule should be applicable to every India team player. He stated that even Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli should play in India's domestic cricket as well.

This comes after BCCI left Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the list of centrally contracted players after they ignored the directive to play Ranji Trophy.

"It (directive) is a very good move. Everybody should be playing Ranji Trophy cricket, but currently, the emphasis is on the IPL. It is good, and it is entertaining but the real cricket is the (five) days' cricket. Playing in domestic cricket is good, it keeps you in touch.

But whenever you are free, even if you're a Rohit Sharma or a Virat Kohli, you should go back and play domestic cricket for the state. That (state) gave you the opportunity to be a player, get selected, and then play for the country,” Azad said to PTI.

He felt that penalizing just Ishan and Iyer wasn't right.

"Just to penalize the two is not correct, I think everybody should be penalized. Everybody should be seen with the same mirror," Azad added.

Azad declined to comment on whether Ishan and Iyer's names were removed from the list of centrally contracted players, perhaps signaling the end of their careers.

"My question is, are they playing enough domestic cricket? They are playing T20 cricket, nowadays and every other state has a T20 cricket league. Back in the days when we were starting our careers, players like Bishan Singh Bedi, Madan Lal, Surinder Amarnath, Mohinder Amarnath, Chetan Chauhan, Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Karsan Ghavri played alongside youngsters like me and Ravi Shastri.

All these senior Test team players would play for their sides, would play for the pride of their state which seems missing in the youngsters nowadays," he added.

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He also said that Indian players shouldn’t have an issue playing domestic cricket as even England players participate in the county championship in free time.

"Look at county cricket; there are 20-plus counties and there are numerous three-day and four-day games along with T20 cricket, but every player is involved there. If a player is left out of the Test squad, then he returns to play for his county. So why can't we have our players playing those domestic matches, that's the big question," he added.

He was full of praise for players like Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan as they found the balance between T20 cricket for their IPL teams and playing the Ranji Trophy.

"There are players like Jurel, and Sarfaraz who do play T20 cricket but, at the end of the day, are also representing their states in the Ranji trophy. The bowlers also get into the rhythm of bowling longer spells when they regularly play domestic cricket. It (Ranji) is not a form of slam-bang and thank you," he said.

(PTI inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 29 Feb, 2024

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