Kishan’s inclusion in India’s World Cup squad as the second wicketkeeper batsman behind KL Rahul was a natural progression.
However, his path to the top has not always been smooth.
Kishan was forced to relocate from Patna to Ranchi in pursuit of better cricketing facilities.
“He is a fighter from a very young age, and was clear in his career as a cricketer. His practice nets (SAIL grounds) were very close to MS Dhoni’s house, and he always wanted to follow Mahi bhai’s footsteps, and keeps watching his videos.
“Luckily for him the JSCA Stadium, where they have turf wickets, was opened in 2013, and it helped him a lot to develop his game,” said Monu Kumar, the Jharkhand pacer and a close friend of Kishan.
Kishan is often mistaken for a clone of Dhoni – a devastating hitter who keeps wickets, and both are from the same state.
Kishan, however, is more than just a Dhoni progeny.
Former India stumper Kiran More, who has worked with Kishan at the NCA and the Mumbai Indians since 2018, revealed more details about his ward’s game.
Ishan Kishan (AP Photo)
“He is a natural at everything he does. I was at the NCA for a wicket-keepers’ camp and Kishan had others like Sanju Samson in his batch. Kishan was so athletic and he had such soft hands even at that age,” More told PTI.
More stated that he did not have to make many changes to Kishan’s game, only slight adjustments.
“He came with a naturally good game. I had to tell him a bit about his head and squatting positions. We also worked a bit on his ball collection and a few other minor techniques.
“Later, we worked on the same things a bit more during my time at the Mumbai Indians. What stands out is his ability to adapt and willingness to learn,” said More.
Those skills were shown when he was asked to bat at No. 5 for the first time in his young career during the Asia Cup encounter against Pakistan last week at Pallekele.
Kishan took full advantage of the occasion, scoring 82 from 81 balls.
More was pleased to see Kishan blossom as a true wicket-keeper batter.
“Yes, I am sure he will make an impact for India. He is a long-term player and you will not get such players very often.
“Kishan being a left-hander will add more variety to the Indian batting order, you know that left-right combination…a dream for any team management,” said More.
Kishan’s score against Pakistan was all the more significant because it came against a top-tier bowling attack at a time when India was struggling at 66 for 4.
J Arunkumar, Mumbai Indians assistant batting coach and former Karnataka batter, was unsurprised by Kishan’s performance.
“Many times, we only see one side of his (Kishan’s) batting because he is such a fabulous hitter of the ball. But there is more to his batting than that eye-catching shot-making.
“He is calm and collected under any situation. That mature head is his biggest asset,” said Arunkumar.
More agreed to the point.
“Yes! He still has a long way to go. But he gives India a brilliant option, and Kishan is quite handy at any batting slot.
“Now, we have four excellent wicketkeeper batters – Pant, Rahul, Kishan and Samson. It is a good thing to have this kind of pool of quality players,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)