No singles/doubles? No worries. Ishan Kishan has the most effective method to counter a rotation problem. Whack sixes.
When asked about his gameplay in white ball cricket, which is more about hitting boundaries than running between the 22 yards, the 24-year-old said, “Kuch players ka strength hote hai rotate krna…kinhi ka chakka maarna….mere jaisa koi chakka bhi utna jaldi nahi maar pata hai. Mai bahot aasani se maarta hu. (For some players, rotating the strike is their strength….for others, to hit sixes…..not many can hit sixes as early like I do. I hit them with ease.)”
“That is my strength. Hitting sixes. So if I can do my bit by hitting sixes then I don’t think of rotating that much. But yes, there’ll be innings where rotation would be required when wickets would fall from the other end. Practicing for that is also important. But if your strength is hitting sixes and you get the ball to do so then you don’t need to rotate. Just hit a six,” he added post-match on Sunday.
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Kishan went ballistic with the bat in the second India-South Africa ODI, scoring 93 off 84 balls. An innings that consisted of four fours and seven sixes. After India lost both Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill in the powerplay, Kishan added 161 runs for the third wicket with Shreyas Iyer (who went on to hit a hundred). Between the two, the strategy as Kishan explained was simple.
“When I played the first over of Maharaj, I realised wasn’t assisting (the spin) much,” he said. “The ball was fresh and I felt we needed to take 2-3 chances before it became old because at times when you attack the bowlers also try and sway from their line and length to save themselves from conceding more. That’s when you get more easy boundaries. I thought it would become easier for Iyer as well. The plan was simple, if a left-arm spinner is bowling, I’d take the chance and try and put pressure on them.”
Kishan, who has played his state cricket with Jharkhand, quite a lot of it at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi, said his familiarity with the wicket helped a lot in India’s chase of 279.
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“We were speaking that I’ve played so many matches in Ranchi, I know the wicket. Mostly in the second innings, the wicket becomes slow. But when we came out for the practice session the dew factor was also there and we felt that would not let the pitch change much (in the second innings).”
A team-B team
After captain Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan was the opener with most T20I appearances for India since the World Cup last year. He said while not being included in the squad is a setback, he can add more sixes to his account and work his way up the ladder to earn a place in a World Cup squad.
“It’s obviously a bad feeling when you are not part of a big team, when you are not part of a big tournament which will give you good exposure. When you help your country win at the World Cup, that is a different feeling altogether. But I think there would be some shortcomings that the selectors would’ve noticed. Some improvements required from my end. If I’ve hit 7-8 sixes today I know I have the capacity to hit 9-10 as well.”
He further added, “Right now if you look at the team (for the T20 World Cup), everyone is doing really well. The batters….the middle order, the openers, they’re all doing really well. So I’ll wait for my time. I want to have that confidence within me when my opportunity arrives that I feel I’ve prepared fully for it and I can help the team win. When that self belief comes then I’ll say I’m ready for my place in the team.”
While India’s T20 World Cup squad landed in Australia on Friday, the Shikhar Dhawan led ODI side has now levelled the three-match series against South Africa with the decider to be played on Tuesday, October 11 in Delhi. Kishan also shared his thoughts on the outside talks of the team being referred to as India’s B team and doubted as a strong contender against a full strength visiting Proteas side.
“I heard talking about that we’re the B side and we’re not so much capable of beating the South Africa A side…I heard these comments and I was really upset about it,” the southpaw said. “So we also wanted to play our A game today and because we lost the first game, we wanted to win this one so that we can give the fight in the next one. Hopefully we’ll win the next one also with the kind of form Iyer is batting, Sanju bhai is batting, everyone is in their prime form so our target is on the next game.”