What turned BCCI against Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer?

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were omitted from BCCI's annual central contract list.

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Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer recently made headlines for skipping Ranji Trophy matches.

BCCI have announced their annual central contracts for the year 2024. There have been a few youngsters who are part of the contract list for the first time. Yashasvi Jaiswal, India’s latest sensation with the bat, entered the list and has found his place in Grade B category. In total, there are 30 contracted players this year, the list has been expanded from 26 in 2023.

But there are some faces who have been omitted from this list. They are none other than Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, two players who were in focus recently for skipping the Ranji Trophy matches.

Ishan Kishan

Ishan Kishan

Kishan had taken a break during South Africa tour citing personal reasons. It was said that he was mentally fatigued and needed some break to regather himself. In Kishan’s absence, KL Rahul stood as India’s wicketkeeper during South Africa Tests. 

Ishan Kishan was expected to make a comeback in the home Test series against England. In Rishabh Pant’s absence, Kishan was expected to be India’s first-choice gloveman for Tests. KS Bharat, another option for the keeping slot, had poor returns in international cricket with the bat. This seemed to be the perfect moment for Kishan to stake his claim in India’s Test XI.

But Kishan didn’t make himself available for the England Tests as well. When India coach Rahul Dravid was asked about Kishan’s comeback, he replied that the 25-year-old needs to play some domestic cricket to be eligible for a comeback. It is also understood that team management got in touch with the young keeper during the ongoing Test series against England, but Kishan was not yet ready for a comeback.

In his absence, Dhruv Jurel was given a chance to be India’s wicketkeeper and he delivered a Player of the Match performance at Kishan’s home ground Ranchi. It was Jurel’s second Test of his career and he might have cemented his place for now.

Ishan Kishan used his time away from the game in training with his IPL captain Hardik Pandya rather than playing Ranji Trophy matches for his state Jharkhand. He was recently seen in action in the DY Patil T20 tournament, a privately organised competition in Navi Mumbai. 

According to ESPNCricinfo, the selectors who make the recommendations for contracts, were not happy with this behaviour of Kishan. This might be the reason for him losing out on central contract.

Path for a comeback

Ishan Kishan is among the few batters who have scored a double-century in ODI cricket. He has all the ability and talent to play at international level. According to BCCI, all cricketers who play a minimum of three Tests or eight ODIs or ten T20Is within the specified period will automatically be included in Grade C on a pro-rata basis.

Kishan needs to fulfil the required criteria to get his national contract back. He needs to play domestic cricket and make himself available for national duties to make a comeback into the team. The selectors have made it clear that domestic cricket cannot be sacrificed for the sake of IPL.

Shreyas Iyer


Another player who was dropped from the national contract this year is Shreyas Iyer. He is a regular in India’s ODI team and played a big role in India’s path to the ODI World Cup final in 2023. But he has struggled to find form in Test cricket. After a string of low scores recently, Iyer was dropped from the squad for the last three Tests against England.

His case is a disagreement with the fitness assessment by the NCA. After the second Test against England, Iyer complained of discomfort in his back while playing a long innings. But, the NCA cleared him of any injury. According to the Indian Express, BCCI head of sports science and medicine, informed that Iyer had no fresh injuries and was fit to play.

Despite being declared fit by NCA, Iyer made himself unavailable for Mumbai’s quarter-final game against Baroda. It is learnt that Iyer was at Kolkata Knight Riders' pre-season camp when missing the match for Ranji quarter-final.

The selectors were not pleased with Iyer’s decision although, the right-hander made himself available for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy semi-final.

Path for a comeback

Shreyas Iyer scored 530 runs at an average of 66.25 in the ODI World Cup 2023. He smashed a century in the semi-final against New Zealand. His ability is never a doubt. But like Kishan, he needs to make himself available for domestic cricket whenever he is not playing for the national team. He fulfilled the minimum criteria set by the Board for a national contract in the last year.

Iyer will play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match against Tamil Nadu which is a good sign for him. He needs to prioritize domestic cricket and national team over the IPL to get back into the reckoning.

A BCCI official later mentioned to ESPNcricinfo the reasons behind dropping Kishan and Iyer from the central contracts.

"The selectors don't doubt their ability. But if the NCA is saying you are fit and you are not making yourself available for the Test series, how can the BCCI offer you a contract?” the official said.

The official also added, “After the IPL, if they happen to get selected and fulfil the criteria of the number of matches required for a pro-rata contract, they will be awarded a contract."

BCCI secretary Jay Shah had recently written a letter to the centrally contracted players not to prioritize IPL over domestic cricket and national duties. He had warned them of severe implications. This step seems to be the 'severe implications' that Jay Shah was talking about.

Both Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer are highly talented players. Removal of both from the national contracts is not a good sign but a necessary step for Indian cricket. This shows the selectors’ faith in the players who perform in domestic cricket and put their national duties on priority.