‘Forcefully, you can’t…’ – Veteran wicketkeeper opens up on non-participation of players in domestic cricket

Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan.
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan.

Domestic stalwart Wriddhiman Saha has shared his thoughts on the growing debate of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) urging players to participate in the domestic circuit.

Notably, Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were left out of the BCCI’s newly-announced central contract on February 28 and many former cricketers and experts of the game opine that it happened because of their reluctance to feature in the Indian domestic tournaments.

While Ishan didn’t turn up for any of the Ranji Trophy games for Jharkhand this season, Shreyas also missed Mumbai’s quarterfinal fixture against Baroda.

Saha feels that a player can’t be coerced into playing a particular format or a tournament. 

“That is BCCI’s decision and personal decision of concerned players. Forcefully, you can’t do anything,” Saha was quoted as saying by PTI after the exclusion of Ishan and Shreyas from the BCCI’s annual player retainership list.

Saha mentioned that a player should give equal importance to every game to “prosper in their careers”.

“Whenever I am fit I play, even I played club matches, office matches as well. I always treat a match as a match. All matches are equal for me.

“If every player thinks on those lines, they will only prosper in their career and it will be better for Indian cricket as well,” he said.

The 39-year-old stressed the significance of domestic cricket and cited the example of Sarfaraz Khan who scored “plenty of runs” before getting an opportunity to play for the country.

“I feel the importance of domestic cricket is always there because if I talk about Sarfaraz Khan, he had scored plenty of runs in the last 4-5 years. Definitely, he has delivered,” he added.

Saha seems to have fallen back in the pecking order of the wicketkeepers who stand a chance of representing India in the red-ball format. However, the Bengal-born is happy with the way the young wicketkeepers are grabbing the opportunities coming their way.

He lauded Dhruv Jurel’s batting effort in the fourth Test that helped India seal the series against England in Ranchi.

“I have never seen him (Jurel) in domestic cricket, even in Test matches I have seen in him highlights. But his batting is outstanding, he won the last Test for the team,” he said.