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Ishwar Pandey feels Indian cricket establishment overlooks domestic performances

"Jalaj Saxena was the best all-rounder in domestic cricket last season, but what happened to him?"

Ishwar Pandey bowls in a match between Derbyshire and India 

Ishwar Pandey had a straightforward message for the Indian cricket establishment as he spoke to TOI recently. The Madhya Pradesh pacer feels that the domestic level players are ignored in the national team, and only those who do well in the IPL are shortlisted.

“If you ignore performers in domestic cricket and only pick those who do well in the IPL, then players would stop playing in tournaments like the Ranji Trophy. Domestic cricket, minus the IPL, will cease to exist,” the young cricketer told Times of India.

To back his statement with substantial stats, Pandey gave the example of his ex-teammate at Madhya Pradesh, Jalaj Saxena, whose domestic record has been brilliant. Saxena took 49 wickets in 10 Ranji games with his off-spin, apart from scoring 588 runs at 36.75 as an opener. But no IPL franchise picked the young talent, and a spot in the Indian team looks far from reality.

“Jalaj was the best all-rounder in domestic cricket last season, but what happened to him? I don't know the exact reason why he moved to Kerala. Maybe he felt that the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) didn't push for his case enough, but money could've been behind his decision to join as a 'professional' there.” he said.

Ishwar further explained that when players start feeling that no one is noticing their performances, they choose to make money their top priority, and accordingly swap teams.  

Pandey seems to be disappointed with the selection committee, and if you check out his statistics in First Class games, you will call the disappointment justified. He has picked up 186 wickets at 25.93 in 51 First Class games, a record which speaks volumes about his brilliant bowling. But the pacer’s dreams of making it to the Indian team get shattered every year.

“I would bowl well in the side games, and in the nets, but never got an opportunity to test myself at the international level. At least I would've known where I stand. I just look to enjoy the game and not think about selection, but being ignored is a bit disappointing and it does hurt. I'm 26, and after some time, the `age factor' will come into the picture,” he explained.

Pandey has played for Central Zone, Chennai Super Kings, India A, Madhya Pradesh, and Rising Pune Supergiants. Standing 6'2" tall, he bowls in the mid-130s, and has great domestic records to his name.

Also read: Robin Uthappa - The forgotten man of Indian cricket

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