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Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?

The BCCI took decisive action against Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan on 28 February Wednesday by excluding them from the list of central contracts. Over the past couple of weeks, the board has been firm in its stance.

2IEXBVLBEJPGTPRMIB2TGNCJYI Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?
Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – India v Bangladesh – Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India – October 19, 2023 India’s Hardik Pandya with Ravindra Jadeja after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

They expect all centrally-contracted players to prioritize domestic cricket, specifically the Ranji Trophy, over the IPL. However, when both Kishan and Iyer failed to take this ultimatum seriously, they faced consequences for their actions.

  1. How old is Hardik Pandya?

    Hardik Pandya is 30 Years Old.

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Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer’s Contract Termination Compared to Pandya’s Situation

Kishan’s situation differs from Iyer’s in that he has not participated in any form of competitive cricket since the T20I against Australia shortly after the 2023 World Cup. Despite expressing a desire for a break, Kishan engaged in training sessions with Hardik Pandya, which led to his absence from Jharkhand’s Ranji games. This decision did not sit well with the BCCI, contributing to the termination of his contract.

Ishan Kishan Image Credits Twitter Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?
Ishan Kishan, Image Credits- Twitter

In contrast, Iyer’s case revolves around his absence following the 2nd Test against England. He claimed to have suffered from back spasms, which he believed hindered his ability to represent Mumbai. However, a physio at the NCA contradicted his claim. Despite the differing circumstances, both Kishan and Iyer managed to upset the board, ultimately resulting in the termination of their contracts.

Shreyas Iyer Image Credits Twitter Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?
Shreyas Iyer, Image Credits- Twitter

While it’s not entirely unexpected that the BCCI reached a decision regarding Iyer and Kishan, the lingering question is: Why wasn’t Hardik Pandya subject to the same treatment? Despite being sidelined with a genuine injury, Pandya participated in the DY Patil tournament after completing rehabilitation at the NCA and regaining his fitness. Considering that Pandya was among the players included in the BCCI’s communication, it raises the question of why the same conditions didn’t apply to him as well.

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Hardik Pandya’s Unique Circumstances: Managing Fitness and Cricketing Demands

The distinction in Hardik’s case compared to Ishan or Shreyas is straightforward: Hardik had previously communicated to the BCCI that his body was not equipped for the demands of red-ball cricket. In fact, his last participation in a First-Class match was back in 2018, when he represented Baroda against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy Group A match, after which he refrained from such fixtures. Furthermore, his final appearance in Test cricket for India occurred a few months earlier in the Southampton Test against England.

LYNXMPEG102T5 Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?
Cricket – India Nets – Ageas Bowl, West End, Britain – August 29, 2018 India’s Hardik Pandya during nets Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/File Photo

It’s worth highlighting that this was the same year when Hardik initially encountered his back issues. The incident during the 2018 Asia Cup, where he collapsed while bowling and had to be stretchered off, marked the beginning of Hardik’s struggles with his back, eventually leading to surgery.

Hardik underwent surgery for his back issue in September 2020, causing him to miss nearly a year of cricket. However, as is characteristic of champion cricketers like Hardik, he managed to stage a comeback. Hardik made a successful return during IPL 2022 and captained Gujarat Titans to victory in their inaugural season. His impressive performance as both a batsman and a bowler led to a promotion, with him assuming leadership of India’s T20I team while Rohit Sharma redirected his efforts towards preparations for the ODI World Cup.

WA5BBWU2RVJTDGHX5EKVVV37RY Why did the BCCI keep Hardik Pandya in its central contract but remove Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan?
Cricket – ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – India v Bangladesh – Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, India – October 19, 2023 India’s Hardik Pandya receives medical attention after sustaining an injury as Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami look on REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

While Hardik Pandya, a regular presence in India’s ODI and T20I squads, may not have explicitly stated it, he, along with his teammates and the entire BCCI, understands that his body may not withstand the demands of playing Test cricket in addition to limited-overs formats. Hardik briefly touched upon this topic during a press conference last year, mentioning that he has not earned his place in the Test team and would only consider a comeback after proving himself through consistent performances.

This approach is completely understandable. Given the physical toll of international cricket, exposing Hardik to the rigors of Test cricket alongside white-ball formats could potentially jeopardize his career, a scenario the BCCI is keen to avoid at all costs.

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