Amidst criticism of ignoring domestic duties, here is why Ishan Kishan is missing Duleep Trophy

The young Indian wicketkeeper-batter will be skipping the Duleep Trophy opener for East Zone and will be playing no first-class game ahead of West Indies Tests. 
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Facing reported allegations of being ignorant of his duties to play for the East Zone in the forthcoming Duleep Trophy, India's inter-zonal first-class competition, Ishan Kishan is in truth heading to NCA in Bangalore to undergo a strength & conditioning programme ahead of the trip to the Caribbean in July. 

Kishan had received flak from certain corners for giving Duleep Trophy a miss without any formal public information on why he doesn't want to undergo one or two first-class games to potentially claim a spot as the first-choice wicketkeeper for the Tests against the West Indies. 

In a report published on June 14, PTI said East Zone selectors "were baffled" upon learning of the young cricketers unavailability for the Duleep Trophy, starting June 28. But in a separate report issued by News18, a source close to Ishan Kishan had cited the player's continuous travel with the senior Indian team as the cause behind his decision. 

Now it is understood that was indeed the case, with the player set to travel to Bangalore for strength and conditioning work at the NCA in Bangalore - a routine process followed under the BCCI regime when there is an elongated gap between two international assignments for centrally contracted or targeted players not part of any immediate domestic assignment. 

Why Kishan is missing Duleep Trophy

The moment the Duleep Trophy schedule was confirmed, it was expected Ishan Kishan might be targetting the knock-out game between East Zone and Central Zone in Alur to bolster his claims for senior Test selection in the Caribbean. 

With the incumbent Rishabh Pant ruled out and his replacement KS Bharat struggling from Border-Gavaskar Trophy through to the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Kishan is a shoe-in for the first Test in Dominica from July 12. 

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However, PTI course-corrected, the player has decided to skip the domestic season opener in Bangalore to rejuvenate himself physically and mentally after being on the road constantly since the beginning of the year. Be it playing or on the bench as backup, Kishan has been part of every India assignment from January in T20Is, Tests and ODIs, apart from playing for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2023. 

Even as he hasn't had to deal with physical stress of playing, being mentally prepped up for matches and regularly travelling can be exhausting for a youngster. Since Kishan has been identified as India's preferred third wicketkeeper in Pant's absence, the team management and NCA physios and coaches wish to take no risks with him as India approaches a fresh cycle of the WTC next month.