India’s Ishan Kishan watches the ball after playing a shot during the first Twenty20 international cricket match between India and Australia at the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on November 23, 2023. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR / AFP) (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
SPENDING time on the bench during the ODI World Cup meant numerous opportunities for Ishan Kishan to work on his game under expert coaches. He batted and batted at the nets, visualising about how to play certain bowlers in match situations.
During the first T20 International against Australia on Thursday (23), the 25-year-old India batter reaped the rewards of diligently doing all the homework a while back in the company of the country’s best cricketers, including a couple of all-time greats.
At the receiving end of his onslaught was leg-spinner Tanveer Sangha, off whom Kishan collected 30 runs off only 10 deliveries.
“During the World Cup, when I wasn’t playing, I asked myself before every practice session ‘What is important for me now. What I could do. I practised a lot in nets. I was constantly talking to the coaches about the game, how to take the game deep. How to target certain bowlers,” Kishan said.
“Being a lefty against leg-spinner, I know how the wicket was as I had kept for 20 overs. When you are chasing 209, you need to target a bowler, who you can hit. I had a chat with Surya bhai that I’m going to take (on) this guy (Sangha) wherever he bowls because we need to get the runs and balls close,” Kishan said at the post-match press conference.
“You can’t leave too many runs for the batters at the back. It won’t be easy for them to play the big shots straight away. I had to take my chances and I believed in myself,” he added.
Thanks to Kishan’s 58 off 39 balls and Suryakumar Yadav’s 42-ball 80, India chased down a target of 209 with a ball to spare, taking a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Communication with Suryakumar, who is leading the team in this series and with whom Kishan has played a lot of cricket in the IPL, was the key after India lost two early wickets in a big chase.
He added, “We lost two wickets early and partnership was very important. I played with Surya bhai in the same team in IPL also so I know how he plays, what shots he can play… the communication I think it was very good today in the middle. We were talking to each other about which bowler we have to take, we have to keep on rotating the strike.
“We need to focus on what we could have done, we will get wickets like these in upcoming games too. Bishnoi, he just needs to back himself a bit more and he will do very well in the upcoming games.”