Flamboyant Indian batter Ishan Kishan put on quite a show in the second One-Day International against South Africa in Ranchi on Sunday (October 9). The left-hander from Jharkhand missed out on his maiden international hundred by just seven runs but smashed four fours and seven maximums in his 84-ball 93 to give India a series-levelling win. The 24-year-old scored above 60 percent of his runs via boundaries and later said he doesn’t need to rotate strike because he can "hit sixes effortlessly".
"Some players have the strength to rotate the strike, my strength is to hit sixes. I hit sixes effortlessly and not many can do that. If I do the job by hitting sixes, there's no need to think about rotating the strike much," Kishan said at the post-match media interaction.
"If your strength is hitting sixes then go for it, what's the need of rotating the strike just for the sake of it. But yes there will be time when rotating the strike would be key with wickets falling at the other end. Obviously, rotation is very important. Seven runs, I could have taken in singles and gone for the century but I never go into a zone where I've to play for myself. If I think of my individual score, when representing my country, then I'm letting down the fans."
Chasing a target of 279, India lost Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill inside nine overs but Kishan and Shreyas Iyer (111-ball 113*) added 161 runs for the third wicket to take the game away from South Africa. Talking about the partnership, Kishan said: “They had two left-arm spinners so as a left-hander it was for me to take chances and put the attack on their bowlers.
"I've played so many matches here and know the wicket very well. I knew it would slow down in the second innings, but after playing Keshav Maharaj I knew this wicket did not have much on offer. We just wanted to take our chances before the ball got old."
Iyer went on to complete his hundred but Kishan failed to reach the landmark on his home ground. He had also missed a hundred in IPL 2020 when the Mumbai Indians opener got out for 99 in their chase of 202 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"We needed five off two balls and I got out for 99 in the IPL. If I thought about rotating the strike, then it would have been difficult to win. Obviously, it's disappointing to miss a hundred but I think 93 was a big contribution to the team. It was very important to give the momentum to the team and keep the team in the zone so that there's less pressure on the next batters."
Kishan, who played the last edition's T20 World Cup in UAE, has been overlooked for the upcoming edition on the back of an ordinary season in this year's IPL. "Obviously it feels bad when you are not part of the side for a big tournament like the World Cup."
However, he admitted he had some "shortcomings" for which he had to miss the World Cup in Australia. "But I think I"ve some shortcomings that selectors would have noticed, so it's about improving myself."
On Sunday, India bounced back to level the series 1-1 after they lost the first ODI by nine runs. With Rohit Sharma and Co. already in Australia for the T20 World Cup, Indian fringe players are in action against the Proteas in the three-match ODI series.
"I heard people talking that we are the B-side, we are not so much capable of beating South Africa full strength side. I heard these comments and we're really upset about it, so we wanted to play our A-game today. We lost the first game and we wanted to win this badly so that we can give a fight in the next one."
(With inputs from PTI)