Coach, captain told me to back myself: Kishan

Ishan Kishan was in some mood on Wednesday. Fathom this: he was at the crease from overs 9 to 14.4. Yes, that’s right. Just 34 balls. He faced 21 of those. And he smashed 62 runs with the help of six sixes and five fours. He reached his fifty in just 17 balls, the joint-fastest by a Mumbai Indians batsman. Kieron Pollard had done the same in the 2016 season.

So dominant was Kishan that he scored whopping 90.32 per cent of his runs in boundaries — 56 off 62. His 82-run stand with Rohit Sharma changed the complexion of the game. So dominant was Kishan that Sharma was happy to give him the bulk of the strike. For the record, Sharma’s contribution in their partnership was just 18.

When Kishan walked into the middle, MI were 62/2 in nine overs. He raced to 21 off nine with a six and three fours. The 14th over was the most significant of the innings as Kishan punished Kuldeep Yadav like never before. He smashed four consecutive sixes to four different parts of the ground to leave KKR panting.

At the post-match press conference, Kishan credited skipper Sharma and the team management for backing him to the hilt. “When you have your skipper and your franchise backing you by saying ‘just go and play your game’, that’s the best part. So, I’m happy whenever I get to bat because, at the end of the day, it depends that what the team wants from you and what kind of performance they get out of you. They are always going to think good things for me. So, I’m comfortable batting anywhere,” he said.

Kishan spoke of MI’s famed ability to bounce back from hopeless situations season after season. “We are known for bouncing back. The best part is that the seniors come together and the team comes together and we talk to each other about what we have to do. We know we committed a few mistakes in the earlier matches, but we also played very good cricket. So, now we are just backing each other, helping each other out and thinking about it game by game by just putting up a good show,” he said.
The southpaw also thanked MS Dhoni, his Jharkhand teammate, for helping him become a better player. “I think he helps me a lot. Whenever I meet him, I get a lot of tips from him. As you know he’s a legend. He just tells me to take my time and read the situation before deciding how you I go about it. So that’s the part where I feel confident when he tells me, ‘just back yourself, be yourself and do the same things’,” Kishan said.

So what was he told during the timeout? “The coach also said to me during the timeout that I need to be myself and back myself. We needed some good hits. Even Rohit bhai said, ‘just back yourself, you know you can hit well so just look at the ball and don’t get distracted, just back yourself and be there’. They knew I could get lots of runs. So, all that mattered to me was to look at the ball till the last moment and keep it going.” he said.

Asked about his highpoint of the day, Kishan said, “Kuldeep loves to bowl googlies. He was targeting to bowl on my pads and get the ball outside off or on to the stumps. I knew if I got the ball in my arc, then I could get that ball out of the park. So I was just thinking of that. If I get the ball in my area, I would go for a six or else just take a single. Rohit bhaiya was batting with me, so there was no problem. I knew if I miss some, he can cover for me.”

Kishan has now scored 238 runs in 10 innings this season. With 15 sixes, he is MI’s joint-highest six-hitter with Evin Lewis this season. He has also taken seven catches and effected two stumpings.



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