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Nearly half of Indian players in IPL 2024 missed Ranji Trophy games this season


Amid concerns over a worrying number of Indian cricketers giving the Ranji Trophy a miss this season, the future of red ball in the country looks uncertain. An analysis of player lists for the Indian Premier League and domestic first class competition shows that over half of those signed for 2024 did not feature in the recently concluded Ranji season.

Of the 165 Indian players roped in by IPL franchises for the upcoming season starting this Friday, a substantial 56 were absent from Ranji Trophy games this term despite representing their states previously. A further 25 cricketers only managed one appearance. At a time when selectors are looking to strengthen the Test team, such figures present a serious challenge for Indian cricket.

Absent stars
Some notable names missing from Ranji action include Hardik and Krunal Pandya for Baroda as well as Ishan Kishan who was advised by head coach Rahul Dravid to play domestic cricket. Jharkhand say they received no communication from the BCCI regarding Kishan's availability. Vidarbha batsman Jitesh Sharma missed nine of his state's games after an initial Ranji appearance following his IPL contract. The likes of Deepak and Rahul Chahar were also absent for Rajasthan.

IPL lure too strong
A major reason cited for missing domestic cricket is players not wishing to risk injury ahead of the lucrative IPL. With Ranji match fees a mere fraction of IPL salaries, the domestic competition struggles to attract 's T20 stars. Some state officials believe the BCCI should have enforced stricter fitness protocols to ensure participation. The board itself has now realized the growing threat to long form cricket from the thriving IPL.

New challenges
With Test numbers shrinking and bowlers in particular needing red ball practice, can India strengthen its resource pool without its best talents missing domestic cricket? The imbalance poses serious questions for the BCCI. Stricter contracts and ensuring the IPL auction happens after Ranji season could help address the new challenge facing Indian cricket in the months ahead.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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