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Veteran cricket analyst and commentator Harsha Bhogle has shared his views on BCCI’s Annual Central Contracts, which were revealed on Wednesday. Star cricketers Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were the biggest absentees from the list, which have been finalised for the duration between October 1st, 2023 to September 30th, 2024. Kishan and Iyer were not considered for central contracts by the BCCI, with the board warning players to emphasise domestic cricket if they are fit and not travelling with the national team.

Reacting to the latest central contract list, Bhogle wants players to identify which format they want to play. He said that if the players prioritise Test cricket, they should play Ranji Trophy for their respective state associations. Similarly, Bhogle wants white-ball enthusiasts to perform in several List-A and T20 tournaments.

“My thoughts on the central contracts. This is a very strong message to players and puts Indian cricket at the forefront. If you have red ball ambition and want to play for India, you must go back and play domestic cricket if you are passed fit. I would like to see an equally strong stance taken at first class cricket level. It is entirely possible that red ball cricket isn’t where you see your future or your joy. And that you want to be a purely white ball player; In which case, you must make it clear and play Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare for the state that nurtured you through age group cricket,” Bhogle wrote in a post on X.

On Ishan and Iyer losing their contracts, Bhogle urged the players to go back to domestic cricket and pointed out how big names like Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble played for their respective domestic teams after being axed from the Indian team.

“Both Shreyas and Ishan are very gifted players and I expect them to score a lot of runs and fight their way back into the national team. That is how bigger cricketers have done it, whether Ganguly or Laxman or Jadeja or Kumble. It won’t surprise me if Chahal forces his way into contention either,” he added.

Bengal pacer Akash Deep, who made his Test debut in the 4th game against England, was one of the five players who has been recommended for a fast bowling contract. Bhogle lauded the BCCI for the idea of fast bowling contracts.

“I like the idea of fast bowling contracts. We have to look after them and there are so many exciting prospects,” he concluded.

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