Even Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma should play domestic cricket: Kirti Azad

Written by Sumit Seth

Former India wicket-keeper Kirti Azad has backed the Board of Cricket Control in India’s (BCCI) new directive, saying even Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma should play domestic cricket.

BCCI excluded Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan from central contracts after they failed to turn up for their respective state teams in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season. Iyer was part of the Grade B contract while Kishan was in the Grade C list last season.

“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,” said Azad.

“That (state) gave you the opportunity to be a player, get selected and then play for the country. Just to penalise the two is not correct, I think everybody should be penalised. Everybody should be seen with the same mirror,” Azad added.

He went on to say that players like Sunil Gavaskar and Bishan Singh Bedi played domestic cricket with youngsters like him and Ravi Shastri during their playing day, insisting that the pride for playing for one’s state is missing in youngsters. Azad played 142 first-class matches in his career, scoring 6,634 runs at an average of 39.48.

“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,” said Azad.

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Sumit Seth