In India's final Test innings during the West Indies tour, young cricketer Ishan Kishan received a golden opportunity after missing out on two previous chances. The team's decision to send Kishan ahead of the experienced Virat Kohli at No.4 in the 2nd Test in Trinidad paid off handsomely as he played a whirlwind knock, achieving his maiden half-century with an unbeaten 52 off 34 balls.
This impressive performance helped India set a formidable target of 365 runs against the home team. Kishan later revealed the valuable advice he received from Rishabh Pant, which played a pivotal role in his success.
Rishabh Pant was the designated wicketkeeper-batsman for India in the Test series and also in the WTC final and Border-Gavaskar series earlier in the year. However, a tragic car accident sidelined Pant, paving the way for KS Bharat to take on the role during the home series and the WTC final against Australia, with Kishan as the backup option. Eventually, the management handed Kishan his debut cap for the West Indies series. He got his first taste of Test cricket in the series opener in Dominica before India declared, but he was dismissed for 25 off 37 in the first innings of the second Test.
In the decisive innings of the match, Kishan was sent ahead of Virat Kohli, and the young cricketer capitalized on the momentum set by the openers. With four boundaries and two sixes, Ishan's unbeaten 52 guided India to a strong score of 181 for two on Day 4.
Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant share a bond since their U-19 days
After the day's play, Ishan shared how Pant's advice during their interaction at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) had a significant impact on his preparation for the series. Their camaraderie and shared experience, dating back to their U-19 days, proved beneficial as Pant provided valuable insights into Kishan's batting technique and mindset.
“I was at NCA before coming here. I was practicing there, and Rishabh was also there for his rehab. He just gave me a few pointers about my bat position and everything because he had seen me playing alongside him. We have played together in so many matches, and we have been together since U-19. So he knows how I play and what my mindset is. I wanted someone to guide me a bit with my batting, and it was a great time for him to come and chat with me. I am really thankful for that,” said Ishan Kishan.
Not only did Ishan display his batting prowess, but he also showcased some Pant-like flair by smashing a one-handed six against Kemar Roach, a shot that instantly went viral on social media. The young talent's exceptional performance and ability to channel the guidance he received from Pant contributed significantly to India's success in the Test series against the West Indies.