Sachin Tendulkar-Ishan Kishan (Getty)
27 October 2013. This date is considered very special from cricket point of view. Sachin Tendulkar, considered the God of Cricket, came out to play a Ranji Trophy match for the last time in his career on this day. Rohtak’s Chaudhary Bansilal Stadium was. When the Mumbai team reached Haryana for this match, there was a different excitement on the faces of the people. Tendulkar had come to Haryana to play his first and last Ranji match. The whole city was decorated. Even the players of the opposing team were saluting Sachin after he entered the field. And meanwhile Sachin also did not disappoint anyone. He led his team to victory by scoring unbeaten 79 runs in the fourth innings of a stranded match against Haryana. All the players on the field lifted Sachin on their shoulders.
Not only this, when the match ended, Sachin was seen going to the dressing room and giving cricket tips to the Haryana players. The thing to note is that Sachin was 40 years old at that time. Had achieved everything in his career. No player in the world had a status like his in cricket. But despite this, he did not consider it against his honor to participate in any Ranji match.
Now let us come to the present day. The year is 2024 and there is a huge uproar over a player. Name is Ishan Kishan. Ishaan had returned before the Test series on South Africa tour in December last year and since then he has not returned to the team. It was believed that he would get a chance in the Test series against England but his name did not appear in the squad for the first and second Tests. The team is still to be announced for the remaining 3 matches of the series. But it seems that Ishaan’s comeback is still difficult. He himself is responsible for this.
After Team India’s victory in the second test, coach Rahul Dravid was asked whether Ishaan would be able to play or not. So he clearly said, ‘Ishaan will have to start playing cricket again, only after which his selection will be considered. It is only Ishaan’s choice as to when he is ready to play again. Dravid said that the team is not putting any pressure on him but to make a comeback he will have to play domestic first.
This is not the first time that Dravid has given this advice to Ishaan. Even before the start of the Afghanistan series in January, Dravid had advised Ishaan in a press conference to play domestic cricket but Ishaan has not yet accepted this. Since Dravid’s statement, Jharkhand has played 4 matches in Ranji Trophy but he did not turn up for even a single match. Jharkhand’s next match is against Haryana from 9th February. But it is not yet clear whether Ishaan will play or not.
This is nothing new when Team India players are ignoring domestic cricket. This tradition has been going on for the last few years that players go out and come in. Till now, it seemed to be a house of all choice. Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and who knows who else. Due to injuries and being unfit, these players were out of the team several times and then came back to the team due to being big names. Due to this, many times the team suffered a lot and at times also gained a lot. But the question arises that why do today’s big players avoid domestic cricket so much? Did he feel that domestic cricket was inferior to him? Or is there any custom in the team to make a voluntary comeback? When coach Dravid has made it clear time and again that Ishaan can make a comeback in the team only after playing Ranji, then what is his problem?
Now only he can tell what is going on in Ishaan’s life. But players should understand that no one can be bigger than this game. When a legend like Sachin Tendulkar can play Ranji at the age of 40, then why not Ishaan? What difference will playing Ranji make to his prestige? Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are also playing Ranji. Many players have come and many will come, but in the end the legend was the one who considered this game big and not himself.