A flamboyant batsman with a high backlift, Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan has set the Indian Premier League alight with his fireworks. He specialises in the slog stroke he plays with a grounded knee for leverage, a stroke we have come to associate with Suresh Raina when he is in full flow. And when Ishan with his long hair plays the pull shot, he appears to be a clone of Saurabh Tiwary, his Jharkhand and Mumbai Indians teammate.
Ishan likes the ball coming on to the bat and, like English batsman Kevin Pietersen, is unafraid of muscling the ball off the front foot against the fastest of bowlers. His magnificent flick off his hips for a mighty six to square leg in Qualifier 1 on October 31 was one of the most awe-inspiring strokes of the tournament; it was an encore of the famous six that Yuvraj Singh hit off the bowling of Brett Lee in the first World T20 in 2007.
The 22-year-old Ishan struck 30 sixes in the tournament, the highest by any batsman. His tally of 516 runs was the fifth highest, and his average of 57.33 is the highest by any batsman who played more than seven matches.
He has four half-centuries, including a 99 that nearly took his team to victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 23. He took a few matches to return to form, his second fifty (68 not out) coming a month later, against Chennai Super Kings; since then his scores have been: 37, 25, 72 not out, 33, and 55 not out.
With a panache for stroke-making, Ishan shows why he can hold a place in any side as a batsman alone. With the ’keeping duties falling to Quinton de Kock, Ishan is holding his spot in the Mumbai Indians line-up as a batsman alone.
Ishan has been known as one of a few promising wicketkeeper-batsmen around in the domestic circuit. The likes of Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant have a competitor indeed.