Indian spinner R Ashwin applauded youngster Ishan Kishan’s exceptional range and the attributes that he brings with him into the squad. The wicketkeeper-batter has been added to the 2023 ODI World Cup squad on the back of his consistent performances of late. Ishan has been tried and tested out by the management in various positions and roles when it comes to ODI cricket. He has opened the innings as well as batted in the middle order and did well in both roles.
Saying that Ishan Kishan is a ‘two-in-one’ player, R Ashwin said on his YouTube channel: “This is not a competition between Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson, because Kishan fills so many roles. When you pick a 15-member squad, you need to pick a backup wicket-keeper. Even when we pick a Ranji Trophy squad, we pick two wicket-keepers. So, Ishan Kishan is also a back-up opener along with being a back-up wicket-keeper, he is two-in-one player. Now that Ishan Kishan has succeeded at Number 5, it gives India two left-handers in the middle order. Everyone was going gaga over left-handers and they were saying Ishan Kishan cannot bat at No.5, but he has delivered now.”
Meanwhile, Ishan Kishan came into the squad following his double-century against Bangladesh in late 2022. His ability to keep wickets and his current form, which started from the West Indies tour, helped the selectors to pick him over the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Sanju Samson also.
While saying that KL Rahul should be given a fair run of matches before the World Cup, R Ashwin again said: “When you have selected KL Rahul knowing that he is an important player, then he should be given a fair run. How will the team give him that is the million-dollar question. If he is in the playing XI, then people should not say that there is too much chopping and changing.”
However, Ishan is known for his light-hearted and bubbly personality ever since his U19 days and he has maintained the same attitude even after his debut for the Indian team as well. Recalling an incident where Ishan Kishan paid the bill for everybody in a restaurant on his birthday, R Ashwin said on his YouTube channel:
“We were having dinner in a restaurant in Trinidad and Tobago, and then he came in wearing shorts, colorful shirt and a gold chain. It was his birthday and we wished him. There were about five tables, all with the Indian team and support staff and when we were leaving to pay the bill, they informed us that Ishan Kishan has already paid the bill for all of them. So, in this day and age, to see such an unselfish guy like him is rare. One more thing that does not meet with the eye is that Ishan Kishan is an extraordinary team man. He will mix positive vibes with the water he is giving to the players in the XI.”
However, Ishan Kishan replaced KS Bharat as Team India’s wicketkeeper-batter for the Tests against the West Indies. India won the series by a 1-0 margin, with R Ashwin picking up 12 wickets in the first Test as well. Recalling a funny incident, where he constantly changed his angles to dismiss debutant Kirk McKenzie, Ashwin shared:
“I was bowling during the West Indies series, over the wicket to one of their left-handers, and I was changing to over the wicket and around the wicket frequently. So, Ishan said that “Even I can’t pick you if you keep changing the angle, he is going to be out soon”. After he got out, Ishan told me “I told you so, even I can’t pick you after keeping for so many years, how can a debutant pick you?”