Ishan Kishan is just 22 but has over six years of first-class cricket behind him as well as five years in the Indian Premier League where he has faced the world’s best bowlers.
So it came as no surprise to either skipper Virat Kohli or any of his other India teammates, like Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal, that he scored a 32-ball 56 on international debut, taking on the England bowlers from the start.
The India skipper said after the match that he has seen the left-handed batsman hit international fast bowlers for big sixes in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“When you play in the IPL with such dominance like he has, against quality bowlers – we have seen him hit international fast bowlers for big sixes,” said Kohli after the match.
Kishan, who plays for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL, has already had a taste of quality international bowlers at the T20 franchise level and therefore felt no nerve while facing the England pace bowlers like Jofra Archer and Sam Curran among others, most of whom also ply their wares in the cash-rich league.
Kishan had, in fact, faced Archer in the IPL last year although for just a few balls. His 516 runs in 14 matches at an average of over 57 in last year’s IPL brought him into contention for the India team although he and Suryakumar Yadav, who too scored plenty of runs for MI, were left out of the tour of Australia.
Both him and Yadav are part of the India T20I team that is playing England now and they are likely to be strong contenders for India’s squad for the T20 World Cup that will be held in October-November this year.
Kishan’s success on debut is testament to the role IPL has played in helping India find match-winners especially in the shortest format.
The likes of Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah, who all will be important for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup, became household names through IPL.
Kishan and Rishabh Pant, although playing plenty of domestic cricket, earned their stripes in the Indian Premier League.
IPL as a supply line to the Indian team is nothing new but its contribution to Indian cricket has increased immensely over the last few years.
Off-spin bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar went to Australia as part of the limited-overs squad but stayed back for the Tests and ended up playing a key role in helping India win the fourth and final Test at the Gabba and with it the series.
Former India batsman Yuvraj Singh gave credit to IPL for giving confidence to young players.
“What a dream debut for @ishankishan51, absolutely fearless about his game ! That’s the beauty of playing IPL at a young age, you just get used to the atmosphere and you go and express your self !!! And skipper is back with some class of his own !!@imVkohli #ENGvIND t20,” Yuvraj tweeted after Sunday’s game.
India head coach Ravi Shastri had said after the second Test in Australia in Melbourne that playing in the IPL had helped Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj, the two debutants who showed no nerve back then.
“That’s the brand of cricket we’ve been playing for the last three or four years. I think a lot has to do with the IPL. The fact that they share dressing rooms with international players, they rub shoulders with the best, that complex factor disappears very quickly,” Shastri had said.