Rishabh Pant and I call each other to correct mistakes: Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan has been on the selectors’ radar for long. The Jharkhand stumper was in great form against touring South Africa A, keeping friend Rishabh Pant and senior Wriddhiman Saha on their toes. He spoke to TOI on the present and the future.
On the experience gained while playing for India ‘A’ against South Africa ‘A’
I have been playing for the Board President’s XI, India A and the Rest of India for quite a while now. One gets to learn a lot of things by being a part of such teams, especially when you go on tours (with the A side) and also while playing against sides with international players. The more experience you gain the more you realize your mistakes and try and improve your game accordingly.
His blitzkrieg knock off 55 in just 24 balls, including five fours and four sixes, against the Proteas in a rain-curtailed tie, in Thiruvananthapuram
We had not scored much when I walked in (57/3). I had to keep the momentum going. My idea was to keep the scoreboard ticking and bat to my strength. I was going to make full use of the loose ball. That’s what I had in mind and my communication with Manish (Pandey) out in the middle was good. So keeping in mind which way the wind was blowing, we were targeting the boundary on that side.
The technical changes, if any, that has helped him flourish
There hasn’t been much change in my technique. One needs to read the situation, the pitch and how the ball is behaving off the wicket. One needs to keep in mind all these things and in that situation, what role does my team want me to play.
His competition for the Indian team’s slot with Rishabh Pant
Actually nothing of that sort is there. Rishabh and I go back a long way and he’s a very good player. We both give importance to our own individual performances. Whoever performs better should be there and that is what the team needs. We don’t see each other as competitors.
On sharing notes with Pant given that they both are wicketkeepers and left-handed top-order batsmen
We generally talk about the mindset. If he’s not doing well at some point of time, I give him a call. Sometimes he rings me up if he sees I’m not doing well, so the talk is mainly related to the thought process. Whatever problems he sees in my batting he tells me and vice versa.
On his immediate goals
Obviously I don’t want to spend more time in domestic cricket. I want to play for India as soon as possible. Right now I’m just focusing on the series I am playing in. I try and score as many runs as possible so that they (selectors) are forced to select me.
On Rahul Dravid’s influence
He has had a big influence on my career because when I was playing for the U-19 team, my performance wasn’t that great but he backed me and showed great belief in me. When a player of such stature backs you and shares his experience, it becomes a lot easier to deal with pressure situations. He has taught me a lot about how one should read the game, how to develop your own way in pressure situations and also how to bat when the pitch is favouring the bowler.
On his keeping skills
It’s true that earlier my keeping wasn’t that great. But in the last few matches, be it in the Duleep Trophy or against South Africa A, I have held some good catches which have benefitted the team. Public will criticize you if you drop catches because it’s easy. I don’t pay heed to that. I know how much I have improved.
On working with Kiran More
It was great working with Kiran sir. He gave really good tips about how to keep on Indian wickets as well as on foreign pitches. He paid attention to minor details which helped me a lot.
The best bowler he has kept to
It has to be (Jasprit) Bumrah. He reads the batsman very well and he knows when to produce an yorker or bowl a bouncer. He’s got a very good mixture of deliveries. I have seen a lot of batsmen struggle against him. He’s also the one who hits my gloves the hardest.
Playing for Gujarat Lions and Mumbai Indians in the IPL
In the Lions team, I mainly spoke to Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo. Both helped me a lot. It was also important for me to watch them in action and learn. At Mumbai Indians, with the likes Rohit Sharma, Hardik and Krunal Pandya around, I spoke to them.