Can’t ask them to drop Rohit Sharma or KL Rahul and prefer me as opener: Ishan Kishan after fiery fifty vs South Africa

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Two of Ishan Kishan’s first three boundaries came from thick outside edges. He was beaten five times – some because of genuine movement from the pitch, the rest due to him trying to force the issue – in the first 5 overs of India’s innings but he did not throw it away. He hung in there and yet did not shy away from trying his shots. Kishan’s breakthrough came in the 9th over when he delayed a cut shot to perfection off a Dwaine Pretorious length delivery and got it to race away past the point fielder. When Pretorious tried to correct his length, Kishan then drilled it past the covers to collect yet another boundary in that over. That was just the over Kishan needed to break free.

Also read: IND vs SA: South Africa snub India’s unbeaten record to script enormous T20I feat in series opener

Kishan’s full fuery was seen in the 13th over. He backed himself to go with the angle of left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj and it worked. Two sixes and two fours in the first four deliveries. He was holed out in the last ball of the over in trying to hit another biggie but by then he had done his job. Kishan had smashed 76 off 48 balls to give India the perfect platform on which Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant would weave their magic to the hosts to 211 for 4 batting first in the first T20I against South Africa at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen put on a show, taking full advantage of the improving conditions in the second innings to lift South Africa to a 7-wicket win.

India’s death bowlers may have been disappointing but Kishan, however, would remain one of India’s biggest positives. Despite knowing that he will have to sit out when regulars Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul return to open the innings, the left-hander put his best foot forward.

“I think they (Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul) are world-class players and I won’t ask for my support when they are there in the team. So my job here is to give my best in the practice session. Whenever I get my opportunity, I have to prove myself or do well for the team. So I focus more than that about my process about what I have to do here,” Ishan said in the post-match press conference on Thursday.

The 23-year-old Jharkhand cricketer said he will never ask the team management to pick him ahead of experienced cricketers like Rohit and Rahul, who have done so well for the country.

“They have done so much. You know, scored so many runs for our country. I can’t ask them to drop them and make me play in the first place. Yeah I’ll keep doing my thing it’s up to selectors or other coaches whatever they think but my job is to you know just whenever I get my chance I will give my best,” Kishan added.

Kishan refused to put the blame solely on the bowlers and said the team collectively will look to improve in all departments.

“We need to address what mistakes we did with the bowling department or if it’s the feeling department, but it’s never any one player who, you know, makes us lose the match. So we’ll figure out everything as a team,” he said.

India and South Africa will travel to Cuttack for the second match of the series slated to take place on Sunday.


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