How Hardik Pandya received Grade A annual contract despite not featuring in domestic cricket? Explained

Hardik Pandya was placed in the A category along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill.

Mathew K
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Hardik Pandya (Source: X)

Hardik Pandya (Source: X)

Ishan Kishan and Shreyas Iyer grabbed attention for not being included in the Indian Cricket Board's annual contract list for the 2023-24 season. Both defied the board's instructions to play the Ranji Trophy and were consequently dropped from the retainership list. Meanwhile, despite Hardik Pandya's recent absence from the field and not featuring in Test cricket for a long time, there were mixed reactions when his name was seen on the list.


Pandya is a regular member of Team India in white ball cricket. However, given his workload and frequent injuries, the selection committee was reluctant to pick him for the longer format of the game. He last played a Test match for India against England in August 2018. Like Kishan and Iyer, Pandya also did not feature in the Ranji Trophy and for the same reason, many were confused about him getting an annual contract. 

The Indian Express reports that the governing body of Indian cricket only gave Pandya the contract after the 30-year-old assured that he would participate in domestic cricket if he has no white-ball commitments with the national team. He is likely to feature for Baroda in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s and Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Pandya was placed in the A category along with Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, KL Rahul and Shubman Gill. The fast-bowling all-rounder, who sustained an injury during India's ODI World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh, is currently out of action. He is gearing up for a blockbuster return to the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the captain of his former franchise Mumbai Indians.


Irfan Pathan questions Pandya getting an annual contract

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan was among those who questioned the inclusion of Hardik Pandya in the Indian Cricket Board's annual contract list. While backing Kishan and Iyer for a strong comeback, the 2007 World Cup winner criticised the board as to why Pandya was not treated like others who did not feature in domestic cricket.

"They are talented cricketers, both Shreyas and Ishan. Hoping they bounce back and come back stronger. If players like Hardik don't want to play red ball cricket, should he and others like him participate in white-ball domestic cricket when they aren't on national duty? If this doesn't apply to all, then Indian cricket won't achieve the desired results!," Pathan posted on X.

India Hardik Pandya featured Indian Cricket Board