'Ranji Trophy is backbone of Indian cricket' - MPCA president agrees with Rohit Sharma's 'hunger' statement

Updated - 27 Feb 2024, 08:37 PM

Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, BCCI
PC: X/Twitter

Indian captain Rohit Sharma had indirectly given a strict message to cricketers who have not shown their willingness to play Test cricket.

While speaking in the press conference after the fourth IND vs ENG Test match, Rohit talked about the young cricketers showing their hunger to play Test cricket. The Indian captain gave a cryptic reply to the question and stated that the team management will only give opportunities to those, who have the will and hunger to play the red-ball format. He said that there is no point in playing cricketers who don’t have that hunger.

The ongoing IND vs ENG Test series witnessed the debut of many young cricketers including the likes of Dhruv Jurel, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, and Akash Deep.

MPCA agrees with Rohit Sharma’s statement

While BCCI has made it compulsory for cricketers, who have been away from the field due to unnecessary reasons to play domestic cricket. However, cricketers such as Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan didn’t follow BCCI’s orders and withdrew from playing domestic cricket.

Shreyas Iyer, who didn’t perform well in the first two Tests of the series, was excluded from the squad for the last three Tests. Iyer was supposed to play for Mumbai in the knockouts of the Ranji Trophy but cited back pain as the issue for withdrawing from the tournament. However, Iyer had been given the medical clearance by NCA to participate in the series.

Ishan Kishan is also one such name, who withdrew from the IND vs ENG Test series selection and cited mental stiffness as the issue. Kishan was supposed to join Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy 2024 knockout round, however, the left-handed batter has now made a return to the DY Patil Trophy along with Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya.

Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association president Abhilash Khandekar has agreed with the Indian captain and believes that younger players should play domestic cricket. He added that the Ranji Trophy can’t be taken lightly by cricketers as it is the backbone of Indian cricket.

Speaking to PTI, He said, “I concur with the Indian captain. There should be hunger in younger cricketers to play the longest format. Ranji Trophy cannot be taken lightly by any player, it is the backbone of Indian cricket. It is the most important tournament in domestic cricket. This should be followed up in other formats in domestic cricket.”

Apart from the MPCA president, several state association representatives recognized that Rohit was correct when he indicated that people who are not willing to put in the effort should not be considered for the most difficult format. However, they believe that a structure should be in place to prevent such a situation from occurring.

On the other hand, an official stated that the Ranji Trophy can experience a slow death if it is not made mandatory for all cricketers to play domestic cricket.

The Indian batsmen have also struggled to play spin in the home conditions, former Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar revealed how domestic cricket helps in bettering the spin-playing ability of the batsman. Former Indian cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar also weighed in on the importance of playing in the Ranji Trophy. He stated that it helps the batsman to play against spin and also improve their skills.

The Indian young players have stood up to the occasion in the ongoing IND vs ENG Test series and have played an important role in helping them gain a 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

Dhruv Jurel was adjudged the Player of the Match in the fourth Test match and proved to be the real difference made between India and England. Jurel played important knocks in both the innings of the match and showcased brilliant batting talent. Jurel was also athletic with his gloves behind the wickets and now would be hoping to continue the same in the fifth Test match.

The fifth Test IND vs ENG Test match will be played at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala from March 7.

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