Men in Blues

While Cheteshwar Pujara takes a forward step in the BCCI Central Players’ Contract list, seven known names have faced the axe. Sportstar takes a look at those cricketers, who fell out of favour.

Suresh Raina (right) and Mohit Sharma have been left out of the BCCI Central Players' Contract List.   -  File Photo

While Cheteshwar Pujara takes a forward step in the BCCI Central Players’ Contract list, seven known names have faced the axe. Sportstar takes a look at those cricketers, who fell out of favour.

Suresh Raina: All-rounder Suresh Raina has not featured heavily in the domestic circuit in the past 12 months, playing only three first-class matches for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, besides a few limited-overs matches for domestic sides and India. The batsman scored a half-century in the last match he played, against England in the Twenty20 series earlier this year. He scored 399 runs in the 15 matches he played for Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League last year.

Stuart Binny: Son of former India cricketer Roger Binny, Stuart has participated regularly in domestic first-class and List A matches for Karnataka, but for India, he played only in the Twenty20 series against West Indies in the U.S. The all-rounder scored a century and a fifty in the Ranji Trophy last season, in nine matches. His bowling returns were meagre—12 wickets at 42.61 off 171.5 overs. He yielded modest returns in the Vijay Hazare Trophy too. Binny has not represented India in Tests or One-Day Internationals since 2015.

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Mohit Sharma: The fast bowler shone in bursts in the Ranji Trophy last season for Haryana, taking 27 wickets in 10 matches as the leader of the attack. He had average figures in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well, but did fairly well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, taking nine wickets in five matches. Sharma, who played a crucial role in India’s run to the semi-finals in the World Cup in 2015, seems to have fallen out of favour since South Africa’s visit to India later that year. He had performed poorly in both the ODI and Twenty20 series that he had participated in. Moreover, his economy rate had been too high in both formats. In the IPL last season, he leaked runs at 8.39 per over in 14 matches, taking 13 wickets.

Harbhajan Singh has also been excluded from the contract list.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash


Varun Aaron: The fast bowler missed the majority of his team’s impressive Ranji Trophy campaign as he was recovering from a bruised heel. Varun Aaron returned from his layoff determined, saying, “I have no doubt in my mind I will play for India again”, to Sportstar in an interview earlier this year. He was training at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai during the chat, and he has duly returned to the domestic circuit, participating in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy—where he played a single match, taking three wickets – and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Aaron last played for India in a Test against South Africa in Bengaluru in 2015.

Karn Sharma: A couple of years ago, the spinner, who plays for Railways, was considered one of the major discoveries of Indian cricket. But Karn Sharma ran out of favour as he last played for the Indian team in 2014. While he has led the Railways side in the domestic season, Sharma bagged 27 wickets in the Ranji Trophy this season, and six wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament. In the 2016 edition of the IPL, Sharma represented his old team—Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Harbhajan Singh: The spin ace from Punjab played last Test match for India in 2015, followed by an ODI game in the same year. His last outing for the Indian team was in Asia Cup in Bangladesh last year. However, the vastly-experienced spinner has played quite regularly at the domestic level. Though he missed the first few games in the Ranji Trophy, Harbhajan came back to lead the side. While he was retained by the Mumbai Indians for the IPL, Harbhajan had a mixed outing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he scalped 8 wickets in 5 matches.

Sreenath Aravind: The Karnataka bowler scalped 30 wickets in the Ranji Trophy this season. Though Sreenath Aravind last played for India against South Africa in 2015—his lone appearance in a T20 tie—he has made his presence felt in the domestic circuit. While he has time and again proven his worth for the Karnataka side, Aravind has been one of the successful local recruits for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.

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