'If players like Hardik Pandya...': Irfan Pathan's remarks sparks debate after Iyer, Kishan snubbed from BCCI contract

Irfan Pathan has backed BCCI’s decision to exclude Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from the central contract list. However, the veteran all-rounder has also raised a valid point on Hardik Pandya.

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Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan stirred controversy by mentioning Hardik Pandya following the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to exclude Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from the annual central contracts due to their negligence of the Ranji Trophy despite repeated warnings. Pathan expressed hope for Iyer and Kishan's resurgence after this setback and raised a critical question.

In a tweet on X, Pathan emphasized that talented cricketers like Shreyas and Ishan should make a strong comeback. He questioned whether players like Hardik Pandya, who opt out of red-ball cricket, should be encouraged to participate in domestic white-ball competitions when not on national duty. 

'They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they bounce back and come back stronger. If players like Hardik don’t want to play red-ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in white-ball domestic cricket when they aren’t on national duty? If this doesn’t apply to all, then Indian cricket won’t achieve the desired results!'

Meanwhile, Hardik Pandya, who had been sidelined due to an injury sustained during an ODI World Cup match, recently made a competitive comeback by participating in a DY Patil T20 Cup match in Mumbai. He is set to lead the Mumbai Indians in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), commencing on March 22.

The latest BCCI contracts feature players categorized into Grades A-plus, A, B, and C. Notable names in Grade A include Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja, while Hardik Pandya falls under Grade A. The contact list outlines the BCCI's commitment to recognizing and rewarding players based on their performance and contribution to Indian cricket.

BCCI central contracts 2024–25 complete list:

Grade A-plus: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja

Grade A: R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya.

Grade B: Surya Kumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Grade C: Rinku Singh, Tilak Verma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mukesh Kumar, Sanju Samson, Arshdeep Singh, KS Bharat, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan and Rajat Patidar

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