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Dravid feels NZ-bound players should have played Ranji QF

Former India captain Rahul Dravid feels that the Indian board should have allowed players like Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma to have played for their respective states in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final that starts on Wednesday.

Former India captain Rahul Dravid feels that players like Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should have been allowed to play for their respective states in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal that starts on Wednesday.

The BCCI is not allowing any of the six players -- Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane (Mumbai), Mohammed Shami (Bengal), Stuart Binny (Karnataka), Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Suresh Raina (UP) to play for their states as Indian ODI squad is flying off to New Zealand in wee hours of January 12 -- which is the last day of the quarterfinal.

Rahul Dravid

"Well, I think there was a good opportunity and a case to allow these players play for their teams in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal. There is a gap of seven days before they play the first ODI (January 19). I am sure these six could have joined the team a day or two later as it has happened earlier," Dravid told ESPN Cricinfo on Tuesday.

Dravid feels that someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar would have gained by getting ideal match-time in the quarters as he hasn't played competitive cricket for more than a month now.

"If I would have been Bhuvneshwar, I would have liked to play. He may have bowled a lot in the nets but he hasn't played any matches for over a month. May be from Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane's perspective, they could have asked for a break after a gruelling series. But they are young kids, who would have wanted to take Mumbai to semifinal," Dravid said.

Dravid also said that if likes of Rohit and Rahane play in Ranji Trophy, it "raises the profile" of the event.

"I am not saying that BCCI doesn't value Ranji Trophy. They do value a lot but if these boys play, it raises profile of the event. Since the match (Mumbai vs Maharashtra) would be telecast live, people while flipping through channels, if they find Rohit batting, they would just hang around and watch a bit more," Dravid said.

"Some of these guys (Shami for Bengal) are really valuable players for their teams and their coaches wouldn't have mind if they would have been available. Obviously, their opponents won't mind them not playing," Dravid said in jest.

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