‘Never Once Has it Crossed My Mind that I Want His Place’: Ishan Kishan on Competition with Rishabh Pant

Written by Abhishek Patil

With every passing day, the selection race for the Indian senior men’s cricket team is getting tougher by a notch. Be it the spot of top-order batter, a wicketkeeper, or a bowler; options are available in plenty but only eleven gets to play the game at a time.

Something similar is happening currently in the Indian cricketing setup. Veteran Wriddhiman Saha has been completely sidelined in Tests as the selectors have made up their minds to invest on youngsters. With Rishabh Pant occupying the seat of the first-choice stumper in all formats, KS Bharat is slowly becoming a familiar face in the dressing room to back him up.

When it comes to the white-ball format, India have Ishan Kishan as Pant’s cover. The former is already being groomed as an opener in the shortest format. Both have been teammates since Under-19 world cup in 2015 and now when they are in the senior team, the sense of competition is there but the camaraderie persists as well.

“Oh yes, he’s [Rishabh Pant] a very good friend. Whenever both of us are around, you’ll find us hanging out a lot with each other. We just keep watching movies whenever we find the time. We also talk a lot about cricket with each other about the game, what could’ve been done differently. I speak my mind with him, and he does the same. Never once has it crossed my mind that I want his place and I can assure you, that’s been the case with him too. And most importantly, when we are in the middle of our cricket routines, we don’t even think we’re competing with each other,” Ishan was quoted as saying.

“When you have good competition going with a talented player, there’s great fun to it too. You begin to realise those important things all by yourself-play good cricket and everything else will take care of itself. I love wicket-keeping so whenever an opportunity comes, I’ll try and give it my best,” he added.

Kishan has represented India in 8 T20Is and 3 ODIs, scoring 184 and 88 runs respectively. Recently, he played as an opener in the 3-match T20I series against West Indies but seemed to be under pressure. He managed scores of 35, 2 and 34 in the series, averaging 23.67.

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Abhishek Patil