Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan had questioned BCCI’s stance on star all-rounder Hardik Pandya after the board decided to exclude young cricketers Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer from its annual central contracts for not making themselves available for domestic cricket despite being fit.

However, the former all-rounder’s argument was challenged by his ex-teammate Aakash Chopra, who explained why the two scenarios shouldn’t be compared.

As per Chopra, Hardik should not be punished for not playing first-class cricket as his body won’t allow him to go through the rigours of the traditional format. Hardik’s last appearance in red-ball cricket was in 2018.

“Hardik Pandya’s case is very simple. Why would you punish him if he has not made a mistake? He is not playing red-ball cricket. That ambition or aspiration does not exist anymore. He has not said that as such, but the truth is that he is not available at all for any Test series,” said Chopra on his official YouTube channel. 

“So if you are not at all auditioning for Tests, no one will ask you to play first-class cricket. Why would you play four-day games when you don’t have that much strength in your body to bowl so many overs and have injury problems? So why should he play - fair play,” he added.