Ishan Kishan, the newest member of the Indian T20I setup, credited players, captains, coaches and support staff of Mumbai Indians for his development and described the franchise as the ‘bedrock’ of his cricket. After a 516-run season with the Blues, Kishan received a maiden national call-up.
The internet went into a meltdown after Mumbai Indians purchased a then 19-year-old Ishan Kishan for a staggering 6.2 crore in the IPL 2018 auction, but after threatening to wane away without doing justice to his talent, the wicket-keeper batsman announced his arrival as an elite T20 batsman in IPL 2020.
In the season, Kishan racked up 516 runs across 14 games - the most by an uncapped Indian player in a single season - and was integral to Mumbai winning the competition for a record fifth time. All that and more, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the support and backing of the Mumbai management, who never gave up on the southpaw despite him displaying high inconsistency and blowing hot and cold during his time at the franchise.
The 22-year-old is currently bracing himself for a potential T20I debut after being called up for the England series, but Kishan, speaking ahead of the series, was quick to admit that he is where he is due to the immeasurable support he received from individuals in the Mumbai Indians franchise.
“It’s amazing to have mentors like Rohit bhai and so many others in the dressing room, you get to learn so much and adapt your game accordingly. It [the Mumbai Indians stint] is the bedrock of my cricket. The mentorship I received from the coaches and Rohit and Zaheer bhai really helped me,” Kishan told Wisden.com.
“It’s very important to be mentally strong, and to that extent you mature as a player with each year and I think the support of mentors and senior cricketers really helps in that regard. I think each IPL has been a learning experience for me. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to express myself and that helped me get the confidence moving forward.”
Kishan’s tally of 517 runs in IPL 2020 was impressive, but what caught the eye more was the pace at which he struck those runs - the southpaw maintained a remarkable SR of 145.76. He did so by hitting sixes aplenty - Kishan hit more sixes than anyone else in IPL 2020 - and, by the time the knockouts beckoned, had established a reputation of being a monster six-hitter. While admitting that he is someone who looks to clear the fence often, Kishan insisted that, more often than not, he always attempts to bat according to the situation.
“How I play really depends on the situation of the game and team composition. Sometimes you’re required to accelerate in fifth gear from ball one, if it’s a flat track or if you’re chasing a big score. You’re expected to get your eye in and take your team across if it’s a low total, so it really depends on the situation.
"As a player, it’s also important to know your role and play according to that for the success of the team. But as often as I can, I look to clear the fence.”
It’s this six-hitting ability that has earned Kishan a spot in India’s squad for the England T20Is, but breaking into the first XI will be a whole different challenge altogether. The youngster conceded that it will be ‘very difficult’ for him to get a game, but asserted that he is open to batting anywhere in order to bolster his chances of getting a maiden international cap.
“It’s always difficult to make it to the team, but that’s how it’s always been and for me. I don’t mind playing anywhere, having switched between playing in the middle and top order in my career so far.”