"Even Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli should play domestic cricket when free"

Part of the 1983 World Cup-winning team Kirti Azad on Thursday agreed with the Board of Control for Cricket in India`s decision to make cricketers play the Ranji Trophy. He stated that it`s a good move and the rule should be applicable to every India team player, including Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were excluded from BCCI`s central contracts as they ignored the board`s orders to play Ranji Trophy.

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“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, 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. He felt that penalising just Ishan and Iyer wasn`t right.

“Just to penalise the two is not correct, I think everybody should be penalised. Everybody should be seen with the same mirror,” Azad told PTI Video.

Azad declined to comment on whether this was the potential end of the road for Ishan and Iyer after their names were excluded from the list of centrally-contracted players.

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“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.

Azad also questioned why Indian players have issues playing domestic cricket whereas England players play county cricket when not serving in their national team.

“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 praised players like Dhruv Jurel and Sarfaraz Khan for finding the balance between T20 cricket for their IPL teams and playing Ranji Trophy.

“There are players like Jurel, 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.

(With PTI Inputs)


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