Ishan Kishan will be tad too naïve not to understand that he currently stands on the lowest pedal in the ladder of players who are in contention for a slot in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup. The dashing wicketkeeper batsman’s chances of entering the team also hit the cold point once batting maestro Virat Kohli expressed his intentions of playing the marquee event in June.

To add to his dilemma, head coach Rahul Dravid on Wednesday had made a loaded statement that Kishan has to play domestic cricket to make his return to India fold. It means that having not played any cricket for seven weeks, the left-hander can’t be selected for England Tests later this month, where Kona Bharat is seen as the first keeper.

When PTI contacted Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) secretary Debasish Chakraborty to enquire if Kishan had made himself available for the on-going Ranji Trophy, he answered in negative.

“No, Ishan hasn’t contacted us or told us anything about his availability. Whenever he tells us, he will walk into the playing XI,” Chakraborty told PTI.

So, did Ishan do the right thing listening to his heart and seeking a break due to mental fatigue? He did absolutely the correct thing. But was the timing of his decision wrong where he could have stayed back for some time till the end of the Test series against South Africa? It was, perhaps, that he could have had read the riot act.

If Kohli vs Kishan comparison is done with weightage on experience and big match temperament, the Jharkhand man stood no chance against the Big Man. This despite the fact that after Shubman Gill, until the ODI World Cup, Kishan was one of the most consistent white ball batters.

Did he have reasons to feel aggrieved that he didn’t play a single T20 in South Africa after scoring two half-centuries under pressure in the preceding series against Australia at home? And Kishan is not someone who lacks that passion quotient not to feel hurt at that sidelining. If one had to accommodate both Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma, who also returned to the T20 establishment, the scapegoat had to be Kishan as he is a top-order player.

Then we have another left-handed top-order batter Yashasvi Jaiswal, who might just be a yard ahead of Kishan in terms of range and quality. A flowering cricketer often learns a lot while sharing the dressing room with legends. But ask any young player off the record, they would emphatically tell you that “no one learns cricket by carrying drinks and towel. Learning by doing is the only process.”

Did Kishan miss a beat in South Africa? Of course, he did. He was frustrated that KL Rahul would be donning the big gloves but what he didn’t realize was that rug would be pulled off his feet as far as his immediate T20 future is concerned.

“Jaana apka marzi thaa, aana humara hoga” is what one could read between the lines of Dravid’s pre-match conference. Possibly, it was a decision made by an emotional young man who walked up to Dravid and asked for a break. But was he requested to stay back? We won’t know unless Dravid confirms. What Kishan failed to read was Jitesh Sharma’s entry as a finisher and the Jharkhandi voluntarily vacated his place once he walked away.

“He could have perhaps waited and stayed back for Test series. In Indian cricket, if you leave your seat at your own will, you might not get it back. There are that many talents,” a former BCCI office bearer told PTI.

“And no coach or captain will you tell you this on face but when you go and tell them that I am going since I am not playing, a subtle ego works. Basically, you are questioning the team management’s call.”

However, the official was clear that how Kishan spends his downtime is nobody’s business.“Once BCCI granted him leave, it’s no one’s botheration how he spends his time,” the official said. So, can Ishan don the India jersey in near future? Of course, he can and he will but only after a spot is vacated in top three. He will have to play the waiting game until then.

Read More