The impact of Sri Lankan pacer Lahiru Kumara’s sharp bouncer not only ruled out the Indian batter Ishan Kishan from the last match of the T20 series, but it may also have hurt the Jharkhand wicket-keeper a bit more than it appears. No, we are not talking about physical pain. Shreyas Iyer may have hogged all the limelight from his three consecutive half-centuries in the series, but very few will remember that Kishan was the second-highest run-getter.
After 10 games in the shortest format of the game, the 23-year-old from Patna is yet to seal his place in the side with the ICC T20 World Cup months away. Just two fifties and a career strike rate of 121 is not something people are really impressed about. However, all is not lost as he ticks other boxes. Just like Rishabh Pant, Kishan can keep wickets; moreover, he is a clean hitter of the ball. That serves two purpose: He can be used as a back-up opener to the likes of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul; he can also be used as a back-up keeper to Pant himself.
Also, he is mentally strong. Not many know, that he captained Pant during 2016 under 19 World Cup. Today his peer is miles ahead among popularity and fame, meanwhile, Kishan is fighting hard to seal the deal, but he remains unfazed about it. Another instance would be his comparison to MS Dhoni. There too he remains unfazed when people hail him as the next ‘Mahi’ due to Jharkhand connection; he is also a wicketkeeper-batter, of course! It is really not easy to handle all that pressure as a youngster.
Let’s not forget that he had a hell of a journey till this point. Remember he was picked as a 17-year-old for INR 35 Lakhs by Gujarat Lions in 2016? Today, he is such a hot property that the most successful franchise in the league’s history got him back at a premium! It was a bit similar to Chennai Super Kings’ all out attempt to get MS Dhoni on board during the inaugural auction in 2008. However, by then, ‘Mahi’ had already established himself as a superstar by winning the 2007 T20 World Cup; he was also as an all-format keeper for India. On the other hand, Kishan is not even in contention for Test cricket!
Kishan will also be apprehensive with the re-entry of Sanju Samson. The Kerala cricketer is another wicketkeeper-batter; moreover, his stroke play against fast bowlers gives him the edge. Nonetheless, Samson remains inconsistent to say the least.
The next two months of IPL is going to be a huge opportunity as he is likely to open the innings with captain Rohit Sharma for Mumbai Indians. If this partnership clicks, it will enhance his prospect vis-a-vis Samson as back-up-keeper. The Lankan series didn’t allow Kishan to cement his place and his injury was a critical blow in more than one way for his future. Only time and IPL 2022 will tell if Kishan really recovered.