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“Ishan decides when he wants to be ready” - Dravid on Kishan’s prospective return to Tests

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Last updated on 05 Feb 2024 | 01:48 PM
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“Ishan decides when he wants to be ready” - Dravid on Kishan’s prospective return to Tests

In the wake of KS Bharat’s disappointing performance behind the stumps, the focus has gone back to Ishan Kishan and if he could be a better choice to keep wickets in Indian conditions

Ishan Kishan made his Test debut in the Caribbean last year, but since the World Cup 2023, he hasn’t been considered in any formats. There were reports of him asking for a break but it has never been officially acknowledged to the media.

In the wake of KS Bharat’s disappointing performance behind the stumps, the focus has gone back to Ishan Kishan and if he could be a better choice to keep wickets in Indian conditions. However, Rahul Dravid has refuted that option for the time being, stating the Jharkhand wicket-keeper hasn’t communicated about his readiness even though the team management is in touch with him.

"There's a way back for anyone and everyone. It's not that we rule out anybody from anything. I just don't want to go on labouring about the Ishan Kishan point. I've tried to explain it as best as I can. The point was that, you know, he requested a break. We were happy to give him a break and whenever he was ready. I didn't say he has to play domestic cricket. I said, whenever he's ready he needs to play some cricket and come back, and the choice is his,” Dravid said in the post-match press conference.

"We're not forcing him to do anything and we are in touch with him. It's not that we're not in touch. We know what it is, but he hasn't yet started playing, right? So, at the moment, it's not something that we would consider because, you know, he's maybe not ready. He decides when he wants to be ready and we've got options obviously with Rishabh [Pant] injured and stuff. So I'm sure the selectors will weigh all the options."

In four innings, Bharat has managed to score a total of 89 runs, with his keeping abilities bringing in more questions. The Indian spinners were clearly not happy with the way he was pouching the balls - and Dravid added that the team would have liked more batting contribution from him.

"Young players need time to develop and they're growing at their own pace. Of course, as a coach, you really want players who come in to be able to grab the opportunities they get and be able to perform. His keeping, to be honest, in the Test matches has been really good. I think he'll also feel that, with his batting, I think he'll agree that he certainly could have done better.

"There were opportunities. Sometimes he's played on some difficult tracks, to be honest, but sometimes he's had the opportunity to make a little bit better contributions."

India didn’t have the services of five of their first-choice players in the form of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, and Rishabh Pant. That really made it tough for them to beat the English side, especially after losing the Hyderabad Test in a diabolical manner. That has certainly made Dravid more pleased about the win.

"Yashasvi's brilliant innings, 209 in that first innings. And then Bumrah's spell really on the first two days kept us, or got us ahead by 140 runs. And then, we needed a bit more of a team performance over the next days, three and four to get us over the line. So, yeah, quite pleased considering going behind in the last Test match and then losing a few players. Happy we were able to bounce back, but we recognize it's gonna be a fantastic series, and it's gonna be some tough cricket played over the next three games."

While understanding the fact that learning from the game will keep the players in good stead going forward, he added that India left a few runs on the board across both innings. "If you want people to play with a little bit of intent and play a little bit positively, then you're gonna have to accept a few mistakes. And at times, you know, people may not be able to convert some of the starts, but for us, for me, it's not so much about, it's just about reading the game and the game situation. 

“I think it's about understanding are we making the right decisions when to put the pressure, or are we recognising that this is a moment where we need to soak in the pressure a little bit and maybe be a little bit more conservative rather than attack all out?

"I do feel that we did leave runs on the board here again. I think that's, again, maybe a function of the fact that we do have a lot of young batsmen coming through who are I think still figuring out Test cricket a little bit. But you don't have a lot of time, you know, to figure out Test cricket. I will honestly say that I think we left a few runs on the board in both innings. you know, in both innings, I felt we could have got, certainly in the first innings here, 396 I thought was under par. You win a toss. We have one guy with a double-hundred, you should be pushing 450, 475 in these conditions,” the Indian coach added.

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