Eye on India: Kishan Battles Bumrah and Siraj Storm, Tipped to Make XI if Gill Does Not

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

Subhayan Chakraborty in Chennai 

The spotlight was on Ishan Kishan on Friday, when he kicked off the net proceedings ahead of India’s World Cup opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. However, it was far from smooth sailing for the opener, who faced a stern examination against Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah.

Kishan, who is likely to take the place of Shubman Gill if he does not recover from illness, was in the firing line, as Siraj and Bumrah hurled the new ball at him in full throttle. They troubled him repeatedly and beat the bat on multiple occasions. The challenge became tougher when Ravindra Jadeja joined the two. Despite his struggles, Kishan showed resilience.

It was then that India’s head coach Rahul Dravid intervened to provide guidance to Kishan. The young opener received insights from The Wall and that is something which could potentially shape his approach against the Australian bowlers.

Soon after, Ravichandran Ashwin was in action, further complicating Kishan’s task. Yet, it was Bumrah who continued to pose the toughest challenge, swinging the ball menacingly and even striking Kishan with a deceptive in-swinger. He didn’t merely test him but also offered tips, demonstrating the camaraderie in the team.

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

Kishan decided to switch nets after 20 minutes, opting to face throw-downs from Nuwan Seneviratne and Dayanand Garani. The change allowed him to recalibrate. However, the challenges persisted as Mohammed Shami started warming up with gentle but testing deliveries. Despite his best efforts, Kishan edged one.

As he concluded his session, Dravid once again got busy with him. It was a day that tested Kishan’s mettle and also taught him valuable lessons.

During his cool-down period, Kishan engaged in light-hearted conversations with Virat Kohli, Jadeja and Bumrah, sharing a laugh and discussing batting techniques.

However, the final discussion with captain Rohit Sharma was notably intense, which hinted at the strategic importance of Kishan’s role in the upcoming match.

Photo: Debasis Sen/Revsportz

The question lingers. Will Kishan replace the ailing Gill in the XI against Australia, or will KL Rahul be sent up the order with Suryakumar Yadav slotting in as the middle-order option? The final practice session may answer that question.

Despite his troubles in the nets, Kishan remains a force in the Indian batting arsenal. In 2023, he has made 409 runs from 13 innings, with an average of 37.18 and strike rate of 93.16. He has hit four half-centuries. Will India take a chance with him? Just wait a bit longer and watch this space.

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