Ishan Kishan, a product of the T20 age

After being talked to by Jayawardene, southpaw’s changed lifestyle has contributed to making it to the big time.

Published: 16th March 2021 10:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2021 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

Virat Kohli and I Kishan run between the wickets during second T20 cricket match between India and England. (Photo | PTI)

Virat Kohli and I Kishan run between the wickets during second T20 cricket match between India and England. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A Maturity beyond his age has been Ishan Kishan’s biggest trait. It helped him land the captaincy at the 2016 under-19 World Cup. At 20, Jharkhand selectors put faith in him by handing him the state captaincy across all formats in the domestic circuit before Mumbai Indians acquired his services by signing him for Rs 6.2 crores. Six months ahead of T20 World Cup, with India searching for expressive players, it is no surprise that Kishan has found a place in their plans.

Ishan Kishan 

Unlike Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, Kishan hasn’t been fast-tracked into the national side. He has earned the spot and going by his performances at IPL, Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy, Kishan has probably found the right time to break into the squad, with form behind him. Like his above-mentioned peers, talent has never been in question. It is the lack of consistency that was keeping him away. 

During his first season with Mumbai, coach Mahela Jayawardene pulled up Kishan for being lazy on the field. It was a reflection of Kishan’s then life-style where indulging in PlayStation till early morning and not getting enough sleep ahead of match days were affecting his game. A 2 AM cut-off time was given to Kishan to hit the bed. During practice sessions, Jayawardene drilled an important life lesson. “You need to be the bubbly character of the team, need to jump around. So every game, you need to turn up. A lot of things can be different. One game you go hard, then all of a sudden you get out. And next game, you are cautious,” Jayawardene says on Netflix series ‘Cricket Fever’ that documents Mumbai Indians 2018 season.

It isn’t as if he wasn’t aware of it. Being part of a high-profile team, the then 20-year-old struggled to cope up with the pressure. It was not until Kieron Pollard brought it up to Rohit Sharma that Kishan opened up. Something changed during that season. He got the assurance that he doesn’t need to worry about failure. From there on, he has been a different batsman.

In T20s, batsmen need that extra-backing, especially the likes of Kishan and Pant because of their expressive styles. They are cricketers who have grown up in the T20 era, playing fearless cricket without worrying about losing their wicket. It comes at a cost of them probably playing red-ball cricket in the same way, but then it happens with a generation shift. Playing in IPL against high-quality players has not only given them the exposure, but has given them confidence. 

Kishan offers India a breath of freshness. For now, he has been given an opener’s role, a sign that India are already looking at him as back up to Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and one who can also be slotted in the middle-order. “As you play higher levels in cricket, there’s no fixed spot for you. It’s not like you will only open; you keep on floating. There’s a lot of emphasis on left-right combination these days, so I don’t think of any spot, I play the situation,” Kishan said.And that summarises the T20 specialist India desperately needed.


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