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‘He’s been picked on his potential’: Rahul Dravid lends support to promising 23-year-old despite poor outing against WI

The current leadership bunch features Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid after Virat Kohli’s unceremonious exit from the captaincy. The Indian team will be eyeing to reconcile their combination ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup, having suffered a group stage exit in the previous T20 tournament.

As the team looks to sort out their starting eleven before the T20 showpiece event in Australia, the management has been giving plenty of opportunities to youngsters, which was evident in the recently-concluded home assignment against the West Indies. 

Ishan Kishan, who was snapped up by Mumbai Indians for a whopping ₹15.25 crore in the recent IPL auction, opened in all three matches of the T20I series but the Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter failed to impress with just 71 runs at an average of 23.66.

In the final T20I game, Maharashtra batter Ruturaj Gaikwad opened with Kishan as Rohit opted to bat at No. 4 but the duo failed to leave its mark. Ruturaj perished for just four runs as India’s combination to try out a fresh opening pair. Talking about the experimentation, head coach Dravid said the youngsters would not be judged on one series or one bad game.

“This is a tough format. We are asking them to play high-risk cricket. We’re asking them to play shots all the time. And we don’t judge them on a few games. It’s not the way, it’s done. We try to give people as much as possible consistent runs. We’re trying to give them opportunities to play and not judge them on a game to game basis or on one series,” said the former India skipper.

He may have not exceeded his expectations against the West Indies but the youngster has received the backing of Dravid. “Ishan has been picked on his potential, his performance. Yes, you cannot specify this many games. Sometimes it’s combination, sometimes it’s injuries,” he said.

Rahul Dravid lends support to promising 23-year-old despite poor outing against WI

“Never always give a player the same number of games, there cannot be a written number in stone whether it’s seven or six matches. Whether it’s Ruturaj Gaikwad or Avesh Khan today. We are not judging them on one game. They’re here because they perform and deserve to be here.”

“We like to give the players confidence in the group in and around the squad and that they are not going to be judged on one game. It’s always a tricky balance. But in the larger group, I’m not concerned about one-off series. In this format, it’s going to happen,” Dravid further added.

India will next lock horns against Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series, beginning Thursday. While the youngsters didn’t shine in the West Indies assignment, the emergence of Venkatesh Iyer was the bright spot.

The 27-year-old all-rounder notched up two 30-plus scores in the T20I assignment and picked up two wickets as well. Suryakumar also shone with the willow and scored 107 runs in the series, finishing the T20I rubber by claiming the player of the match and series as well.

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Ishan Kishan Has Been Picked On His Potential: Rahul Dravid

Indian head coach Rahul Dravid backed wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan over his poor form with the bat in the recently-concluded T20I series against West Indies. Ishan accumulated 71 runs from three innings at an average of 23.67 in the three T20I matches against Kieron Pollard & co.

After his 42-ball 35 in the first match, the Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batter could manage just two runs from 10 balls in the second T20I match.

Ishan Kishan played slow against West Indies in the T20I series

It was expected that Kishan would be dropped from the Indian team in the final T20I match but BCCI resting Rishabh Pant from the bubble for four T20I matches guaranteed the 23-year-old his place as the gloveman of the team.

Kishan made 34 runs from 31 balls, smashing five boundaries before he was bowled by West Indies spinner Roston Chase in the 10th over. Despite having a tough series against the two-time T20 World Cup winners, Ishan received support from head coach Rahul Dravid.

We try to give people as much as possible consistent runs: Rahul Dravid

Dravid acknowledged that it is tough for players to be at their very best in every T20 match and said that the team management won’t drop players just after they fail to perform in a few games.

Apart from Ishan, Maharashtra batter Ruturaj Gaikwad and Madhya Pradesh bowler Avesh Khan, both of them didn’t have a good game in the final T20I match, got the backing of the Indian head coach.

“This is a tough format. We are asking them to play high-risk cricket. We’re asking them to play shots all the time. And we don’t judge them on a few games. It’s not the way, it’s done. We try to give people as much as possible consistent runs.

“We’re trying to give them opportunities to play and not judge them on a game to game basis or on one series,” Dravid said during a press conference. 

“Ishan has been picked on his potential, his performance. Yes, you cannot specify this many games. Sometimes it’s a combination, sometimes it’s injuries. Never always give a player the same number of games, there cannot be a written number in stone whether it’s seven or six matches.

“Whether it’s Ruturaj Gaikwad or Avesh Khan today. We are not judging them on one game. They’re here because they perform and deserve to be here,” he added. 

Ishan Kishan is part of India’s T20I squad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka with Kerala player Sanju Samson being named the other wicketkeeper in the 18-member squad led by Rohit Sharma. The first T20I will start on February 24 in Lucknow.

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