'Pujara, Rahane are still playing' - Aakash Chopra wants 'strong message' for youngsters prioritising IPL over first-class cricket

"People have started thinking that they would be selected if they do well in the IPL," said Chopra.

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Aakash Chopra and India vs South Africa
Aakash Chopra and India vs South Africa. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

Renowned commentator Aakash Chopra has issued a compelling plea to the Indian selectors, as he emphasised the significance of first-class cricket participation. Notably, seasoned campaigners such as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane continued to grace the domestic circuit, as they represented Saurashtra and Mumbai respectively. While some emerging talents have opted out of the ongoing Ranji Trophy, Pujara and Rahane's commitment has shone through. 

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has purportedly mandated non-national team cricketers to participate in the forthcoming round of the premier domestic tournament. Chopra's critique of youngsters skipping the Ranji Trophy resonates, as he urged them to emulate the dedication showcased by their senior counterparts.

"I am hearing that a lot of youngsters are not playing. They don't play at all because their names have already come in the IPL. People have started thinking that they would be selected if they do well in the IPL, which is not a good thing, because Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are still playing,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

Also Read: BCCI wants players to prioritise domestic tournaments ahead of IPL

A strong message has to be sent: Aakash Chopra

Ishan Kishan, currently absent from the ongoing Ranji Trophy, has opted for a hiatus from international cricket citing mental fatigue. He is reportedly honing his skills for IPL 2024 at Kiran More's academy in Baroda. The former India opener emphasised the necessity of first-class cricket for national team considerations. He echoed this sentiment, and urged the selection committee, led by Ajit Agarkar, to uphold this standard diligently.

"If first-class cricket is happening and if you are fit and are not part of the Indian team, go and play. If someone feels that he will return without playing, a strong message has to be sent that you will only be considered when you go and play. If you feel you will only play the IPL and play all cricket based on that, I am expecting the selection committee under Ajit Agarkar's leadership to put that line in the sand, that it's not going to happen. If this is being imposed, please do it even more,” he concluded.


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