India skipper Rohit Sharma has high expectations from young wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan and indicated the 25-year-old limited-overs specialist will get more opportunities in Tests to harness his potential. Ishan made his Test debut against the West Indies in the first Test at Roseau, which India won by an innings and 141 runs, and Rohit said he was clearly impressed with Ishan’s keeping for the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja when the ball was turning copiously and bouncing as well.
India play their second Test against the Caribbean side from Thursday and will hope to make a clean-sweep in the two-match series.
Ishan making a good first impression in Tests, that too in an overseas Test, bodes well for the young player, especially when Rishabh Pant is out of the India side due to a horrific car accident suffered late last year.
On how he sees Ishan’s first Test, especially when Rishabh is not a part of the India squad, Rohit said, “Ishan is a very talented guy. We’ve seen it in the short career that he’s had for India. He recently made 200 runs in limited-overs (ODI against Bangladesh last December). He has the game and the talent and we have to harness that talent.
“So we need to give (him) opportunities. He’s a left-handed batter and likes to play a lot of aggressive cricket.” The captain also said he had spoken to Ishan on how he wanted the youngster to play his game.
“I have had a clear conversation with him on how I want him to play and have given him complete freedom. He has the game and if he wants a bit of freedom to express himself, then that is our job. We will do that with Ishan.” While Ishan got to bat only 20 deliveries as India declared its first innings, Rohit said he was thoroughly impressed with the player’s keeping skills, especially when the ball was turning a lot.
“I will like to speak specifically about his wicket-keeping. He kept really, really well considering he played his first Test and to keep against Ashwin and Jadeja where the ball is turning and bouncing and some balls keeping low as well… I was very impressed with his keeping skills.
“Unfortunately he got to score just one run as we had to declare. We want that our top-order batters bat long. If the opportunity comes (to bat long), he (Ishan) is raring to go,” added Rohit.
The skipper ruled out drastic changes in the winning combination ahead of the second Test but admitted that inclement weather hasn’t helped in getting clarity about the Queens Park Oval track here.
India won the first Test by a huge margin and, unlike earlier times, the Indian skipper had made a refreshing change by announcing Yashasvi Jaiswal’s debut and Shubman Gill’s new batting position.
“In Dominica (first Test venue), we had a clear idea when we saw the pitch and knew the conditions. Here we don’t have clarity as there is talk of rain, but I don’t think there will be drastic changes. But whatever conditions are available, based on that, we will make that decision,” Rohit said ahead of the historic 100th Test against the West Indies.
While the skipper didn’t name anyone, the only weak link in the line-up is left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who didn’t look as potent as Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur in the opener.
As a new ball bowler, Rohit gave him only nine overs across two innings of which only two overs were sent down by him in the second innings.
The Indian team management can’t be blamed if they have a third spinner in Axar Patel to make life miserable for the Caribbeans, or use Mukesh Kumar’s way more incisive swing bowling if conditions remain overcast.
The skipper, who got his 10th Test hundred in the first Test, was happy that youngsters like Jaiswal made full use of the opportunity by scoring 171 runs on debut.
Rohit believes that transition will happen in Indian cricket sooner than later but what role seniors play is important.
“Transition has to happen, whether today or tomorrow but I am happy that our boys who are coming in are doing well. And our role is important as we have to give them role clarity. Now it’s up to them how they want to prepare and perform for the team.
“… And we rely on those individuals and obviously they are the future of Indian cricket and they will take Indian cricket to greater heights,” Rohit said.
He also expects West Indies to bounce back in the landmark Test between the two countries.
“It’s an honour to be taking the Indian team into this game and it doesn’t happen every day. The two teams have so much history, so much of good cricket played.
“I will expect no different in this Test. I am sure they (Windies) will bounce back and it will be exciting for both teams.”
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