In the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four clash against Sri Lanka, Ishan Kishan's penchant for accumulating dot balls came under scrutiny, as former Indian opener Aakash Chopra expressed his concerns about Kishan's performance as a middle-order batter.
During India's innings, Ishan Kishan faced 61 deliveries to score 33 runs, contributing to the team's total of 213 runs in Colombo on Tuesday, September 12. India subsequently dismissed Dasun Shanaka's team for 172 runs, securing a decisive 41-run victory and earning a place in the title decider scheduled for Sunday.
Aakash Chopra, in his analysis on his YouTube channel, noted that Ishan Kishan was positioned higher up the batting order to counter Dunith Wellalage's bowling threat. Chopra stated:
“Ishan Kishan did not get out to Dunith Wellalage. He was batting alright, although one thing is going to go against Ishan Kishan. He was sent at No. 4, made to bat slightly up the order, as the left-arm spinner was bowling well, which makes a lot of sense.”
Irfan Pathan criticises Ishan Kishan for playing too many dot balls in Super 4 clash against Sri Lanka
Chopra and Irfan Pathan, a fellow commentator, observed Kishan's difficulty in finding gaps for singles, with Chopra emphasizing Pathan's point:
“Irfan Pathan was also talking about it on commentary that he is unable to take that many singles. He was playing too many dot balls and this was when you got to bat in the first 20 overs, although the pitch was slightly slow.”
While acknowledging that the slow pitch was a result of limited preparation time, Aakash Chopra raised concerns about Ishan Kishan's ability to rotate strike effectively in the middle order:
“The pitch was slow because the square is the same even though the pitch might be new. You couldn't roll the pitch after watering it. So it becomes a spinner's paradise and we saw that, but Ishan Kishan's ability to rotate strike was a question and it will remain a question mark.”
On the flip side, Chopra praised KL Rahul for his performance as a middle-order batter. Rahul scored 39 runs off 44 deliveries and appeared comfortable at the crease. Chopra commended Rahul for his footwork against spinners and his ability to sweep the ball:
“KL Rahul looked the most comfortable till the time he was batting. He uses his feet against the spinners and plays the sweep as well. I mean he has got that kind of ability and because of that he validated once again why you want him to be a part of the team in the middle order.”
Despite Kishan's challenges with rotating strike, KL Rahul's contributions in the middle order proved crucial in India's Super Four victory.