Revealed: How Hardik Pandya convinced BCCI to give him A-grade contract amid Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan fiasco

Jay Shah, Hardik Pandya, Rahul Dravid

Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who got A grade in the BCCI’s annual contract, raised quite a few eyebrows, especially when Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were dropped. The governing body published the contracts for the 2023-24 season on Wednesday (February 28).

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer were released from the BCCI’s one-year contract as the duo did not play in the domestic circuit. But the same was the case with Hardik Pandya as he too did not play in the domestic circuit and many wondered why he was given a Grade A contract while the other two were omitted.

According to Indian Express reports, it is learned that the selectors discussed a lot about Hardik Pandya’s contract. Reports claimed that the all-rounder was only given the contract after he assured that he would play in domestic cricket.

Hardik Pandya has reportedly committed to play in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 and Vijay Hazare Trophy if there are no white-ball commitments with the national team. The all-rounder has been away from red-ball cricket due to fitness issues.

Reports also added that there were many discussions about handing over contract A to Hardik Pandya. But his regular submission to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to have his fitness assessed worked in his favour. He is out of action since the ICC World Cup 2023 due to an ankle injury.

A source close to Indian Express revealed that BCCI will not force Hardik Pandya to appear in red-ball cricket but the all-rounder should be available for all domestic white-ball cricket if there are no international commitments. The source stated:

“We have had discussions with Pandya, who has been told to play domestic white-ball tournaments when he is available. At this point, as per the assessment of the BCCI medical team, she is not fit to bowl in red-ball tournaments.

“So playing in the Ranji Trophy is out of the equation for Pandya. But he will have to play other white-ball tournaments if there are no commitments to India. If not, he will lose a contract.”

Hardik Pandya recently returned to competitive cricket in the DY Patil tournament. The all-rounder will now captain Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024. He will be crucial for the team in the league.

“If players like Hardik Pandya don’t want to play red-ball cricket…” – Irfan Pathan’s aggressive statement on the all-rounder.

When the BCCI announced the annual contracts, Irfan Pathan made a bold statement. While he was backing Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, he targeted Hardik Pandya and said that if players don’t want to play red-ball cricket, they should not be allowed to play white-ball cricket. He tweeted:

“They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they recover and come back stronger. If players like Hardik don’t want to play red-ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in white-ball cricket when they are not on national duty? If this does not apply to everyone, then Indian cricket will not achieve the desired results.