Ishan Kishan was just 16 when he first played for the senior Jharkhand side. His first match was against Odisha in the Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament at the JSCA Stadium here, back in 2014.
He made 44 before being run out. Not many people would have watched him help Jharkhand make a successful chase in that match.
Back at his best
On Sunday night, however, more than 35,000 fans were there to watch him — in his first game for India on his home ground — make a brilliant 93 off just 84 balls and lead India’s successful chase against South Africa in the second ODI. He was also making a statement: that he is back at his very best.
Kishan may not have been able to make it even to the list of reserves for India’s T20 World Cup squad, but he has served a reminder to the national selectors. The series against South Africa is a big opportunity for him, with India’s first-choice players away in Australia for the World Cup, and he has grabbed it with both hands.
Kishan and his teammates proved how strong India’s bench is. He said the team actually wanted to prove a point.
“I have heard of people talking of us as India’s ‘B’ side and that we were not capable of beating the South Africans,” he said after Sunday’s match. “I was really upset about it. We wanted to play our A-game today after losing the first game. We want to win the final game too.”
About the match-winning stand with Shreyas Iyer, he said he was influenced by his partner’s positive intent. “After watching him play his shots, I felt I also should play the shots and the wicket was pretty good thanks to the ground staff,” he said. “It was a very good wicket to bat on.”
He said he was disappointed that he could not be part of India’s World Cup team. “The selectors and coaches would have found some shortcomings and I also feel I need to improve,” he said. “I know I can be a better player.”