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Gavaskar comes out in support of Shreyas Iyer

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NEW DELHI: Cricket legend

Sunil Gavaskar

has stepped forward to support

Shreyas Iyer

after the right-handed batsman was excluded from the

BCCI

‘s central contract for the 2023/24 season. Gavaskar highlighted Iyer’s participation in the

Ranji Trophy

before the commencement of the ongoing Test series against England.
On February 28, both Iyer and

Ishan Kishan

found themselves absent from the 30-member BCCI Central Contracts list, covering the period from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. The cricket board stated that the duo was not recommended for the annual retainership. In the previous season, Iyer held a Grade B contract, while Kishan had a Grade C contract.

Iyer participated in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy match against Andhra at the BKC Ground in January before the Test series against England commenced. However, his performance in the first two Tests against England didn’t leave a significant impact, as he posted scores of 35 and 13 in Hyderabad, followed by 27 and 29 in Visakhapatnam.
Subsequently, Iyer found himself excluded from India’s squad for the final three Tests against England and withdrew from Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy quarterfinal against Baroda citing a back issue.

Presently, Iyer is actively participating for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy semifinal against Tamil Nadu, where he registered a dismissal for just three runs in the first innings.
On the other hand, Kishan had been out of action after pulling out of India’s Tests against South Africa last year due to personal reasons. He was reported to be training in Baroda and missed the entire Ranji Trophy campaign for Jharkhand. He recently returned to action at the ongoing DY Patil T20 tournament in Navi Mumbai.

“The BCCI announced the list of the contracted players a few days back and as expected, Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan were excluded from the contract list presumably for not playing Ranji Trophy cricket. Nobody still knows why Kishan has not turned up for Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy, while at the time of writing this column, Iyer was in the Mumbai team to play the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy.”
“Iyer had also played in the Ranji Trophy game as asked by the Indian team management just before this Test series started, so it’s not as if he has refused to play the Ranji Trophy at all. He did miss the quarterfinals, but that was also the time he had informed the team management of his inability to play the third Test match due to some pain in his back if he batted for some length of time.”
“However, the trainers at the NCA certified that his markers were clean, and they found him fit to play. That seemed to have gone against Iyer. Threshold of pain is an individual thing and no trainer can judge that,” wrote Gavaskar in his column for mid-day on Sunday.
Talking about India taking an unassailable 3-1 lead via the five-wicket win in the fourth Test at Ranchi, thanks to a gritty 72-run stand between Dhruv Jurel and Shubman Gill, Gavaskar emphatically lavished praise on the youngsters for stepping up in a pressure situation.

India vs England 4th Test: India beat England, secure 17th straight Test series win at home

“There’s been attacking, aggressive batting from England and some good old fashioned Test match batting from India that helped them to reduce the deficit in the first innings at Ranchi to just 46 when it could well have been another 100 more runs and then again in the second innings, there was great application and determination shown by the two youngsters, Shubman Gill and Dhruv Jurel that took India home to a 3-1 lead.”
“If any proof was needed of the talent at India’s disposal, the Ranchi Test match showed it most emphatically. The team that took the field was like the one that took the field in the fourth and final Test match at Brisbane in 2021. There were no big names there, just big hearts and a determination to show that they could take on the responsibility and shoulder any burden that was given to them.”
“Credit also has to be given to the captains who handled the inexperienced players superbly, giving them the encouragement and belief that they were more than good enough to fill in the big gaps left by the big guys’ absence. They showed that they had learnt from the big guys too as they played above and beyond expectations to register victories that will be remembered for a long, long time.”
“What it also showed was the difference captaincy makes. Pleasure to perform against pressure to perform makes for wins rather than narrow losses. Brisbane and Ranchi, both fourth Test matches of a series, should always be written in letters of gold in the history of Indian cricket as examples of how sheer love for the country can overcome any challenges,” concluded Gavaskar.
(With inputs from IANS)

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