MS Dhoni’s retirement from the international stage has left Indian fans in dilemma over the wicketkeeping spot. While KL Rahul has cemented his place behind the stumps in the limited-overs format, Wriddhiman Saha has emerged as the best choice in the traditional format.
Meanwhile, the future of two young wicketkeepers — Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson — remains in jeopardy. Pant, owing to his inconsistent form, has been dropped from the limited-overs squad for the much-awaited Australia series. While Samson, after his patchy stint with Team India, is yet to prove his worth at the biggest level.
Amid the wicketkeeping conundrum of the national side, Mumbai Indians (MI) youngster Ishan Kishan has knocked on the door of national selectors on the back of his recent performances. The 22-year-old had a stellar IPL 2020 where he finished as MI’s top run-getter, scoring 516 runs in the UAE at an impressive average of 57.33. Considering Ishan’s form, former BCCI chief selector MSK Prasad has labelled him as a ‘welcome addition to the team’.
“It’s really fantastic to see this pocket dynamite in action. He had a fantastic IPL. Batting at No. 4 and later opening the innings, shows his adaptability and temperament. His ability to switch gears as per the team’s requirements will definitely place him as a hot contender for the wicketkeeper-batsman slot for Team India in both T20s & ODIs in times to come,” Prasad was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
“If he can keep wickets well and bat the same way he did in the IPL, he will be a welcome addition to the national squad.”
Though Ishan hadn’t kept wickets for MI this season with Quinton de Kock performing the duties, it doesn’t winnow out his calibre. The Patna-born youngster is currently seen as one of the most promising talents across the country. Ishan and Suryakumar Yadav, two uncapped players of the MI contingent, had a majestic IPL season with the bat, making them favourites to break into the national side. Australian coach Tom Moody had also tagged Ishan as a ‘real package’ due to his fexibility to bat anywhere in the order.
“We do know that he can keep as well. He doesn’t need to keep in that Mumbai side so he’s the real package. The other thing is that he can open the batting and also looks comfortable batting in the middle and that’s quite rare for a young player to have that sort of open mind and flexibility,” Moody had told ESPNCricinfo.