In the wake of prevailing inconsistencies within the cricket fraternity, former Indian seamer Praveen Kumar has unleashed a sharp critique targeting the enigmatic all-rounder, Hardik Pandya. Kumar’s ire centers around Pandya’s decision to refrain from participating in domestic cricket, most notably forgoing appearances for his state team in the quintessential Ranji Trophy, choosing instead to prioritize the Indian Premier League (IPL).

You need to do everything for the country. I don’t know if you know this, but Ashish Nehra’s feet were swollen due to the injections he took ahead of the England game in the 2003 World Cup, where he took six wickets. Dada [Sourav Ganguly] asked him whether he will be able to play. Ashu-bhai said, no problem, I will play. You need to have this commitment and passion.

Praveen Kumar, to journalist Shubhankar Mishra

Despite not donning the white jersey for India’s Test side since a match against England in 2018, Hardik Pandya has seemingly continued to enjoy the prominence on the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) central contract list. This state of affairs gains further significance as it comes on the heels of the BCCI’s stern directive mandating all centrally-contracted cricketers to grace their state teams in all domestic competitions.

No one is stopping the current players from making reels and partying, but they should put the country first, ahead of the franchise. Play domestic cricket, perform, then play at the international stage. The IPL should not be your launchpad back to international cricket, that’s wrong

Praveen Kumar, to journalist Shubhankar Mishra

The decision by the BCCI raised eyebrows as players like Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer found themselves axed from the central contract roster for not adhering to the board’s instructions. This recent purge from the contract list casts an even starker contrast upon Pandya’s seemingly protected status, with questions arising as to why Pandya has been seemingly immunised from the consequences of similar actions.

Praveen Kumar’s criticism of Hardik Pandya escalates to encompass the BCCI itself, suggesting a climate of ‘double standards’ within the highest echelons of Indian cricket. The institution’s preferential treatment of certain star players, as per Kumar’s viewpoint, undermines the establishment’s own regulations and sets a questionable precedent.

Two months before the IPL, they get injured, train well in that duration, do well in the IPL and then think that’s how they will get picked for internationals. Now the board has also said that you need to play domestic cricket, which is the right move, be it [Ishan] Kishan, Shreyas [Iyer] or Hardik

Praveen Kumar, to journalist Shubhankar Mishra

As the IPL’s latest edition dawns, with fans and players alike brimming with anticipation, Hardik Pandya stands at the forefront as the newly appointed captain of the Mumbai Indians. The prestigious team will open their campaign under Pandya’s leadership, clashing with Gujarat on Sunday, March 22 in Chennai. This pivotal role in the IPL further fuels the discourse around Pandya’s selection priorities and the BCCI’s apparent contradictory stances.

The unfolding drama between the BCCI, Praveen Kumar, and Hardik Pandya thus lays bare the complexities of cricket administration and the fissures that can emerge between individual ambitions and the broader obligations to the domestic cricketing structures. As the conflict continues to draw attention, the cricketing fraternity will be closely watching how the situation develops, particularly in the light of Pandya’s contributions in the upcoming IPL and beyond.

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