Suresh Raina backs Ishan Kishan to open for Team India

Written by Sumit Seth

Former cricketer Suresh Raina has expressed his support for Ishan Kishan potentially taking up the role of an opener for Team India. Raina commended the 25-year-old’s strong character and his ability to cultivate a positive team environment, qualities reminiscent of the injured Rishabh Pant.

During the rained-out Asia Cupopener against Pakistan in Pallekele on September 2, Kishan, a wicketkeeper-batter, showcased his maturity with a composed innings of 82 while batting at No. 5.

However, the left-hander, who currently opens for Jharkhand and his IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, also possesses the versatility to excel at the top of the batting order.

“I always said that Ishan Kishan has to open because he is a strong character who maintains a good team atmosphere,” Raina told JioCinema.

The former India and Chennai Super Kings lefthander had a small stint together with Kishan at the now-defunct IPL franchise Gujarat Lions in 2016 and 2017. Raina remembered his time with the youngster, and how the wicketkeeper-batter brought camaraderie and team spirit to the squad.

Recalling an incident, Raina said, “I told (Aaron) Finch that if Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum aren’t playing, then Ishan Kishan should open. I’ll bat at No. 3, and you can decide the rest of the batting line-up.”

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Sumit Seth