Ishan Kishan wants to improve as a finalist

THIRUVANANTHAPUAM: There is a lot in common between Ishan Kishan & Rishabh pants . Both are aggressive left-hand wicket-keeper batsmen & were touted as heirs apparent to MS Dhoni right from their U-19 days.

The duo has played a lot of cricket together during their junior days & had been the captain & vice-captain of the Indian team that finished runners-up in the ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016.

That tournament also saw Pant outperform Kishan & emerge as India’s second highest-scorer in the tournament with 267 runs in six matches, with two fifties & a hundred. In comparison, India U-19 captain Kishan flopped on the biggest stage managing a meagre 73 runs from the six matches.

Ever since, Pant has stolen a march over his one-time captain so much so that he has taken over Dhoni’s gloves in the senior Indian team & has played 11 Tests, 12 ODIs & 18 T20s for the country already. Kishan, on the other hand, is still searching for his maiden India cap despite strong showing in domestic & List 'A' cricket in the last few years.

But Kishan, who is doing the wicket maintenance responsibilities for India A in the first three games of the five-game series against South Africa A in Thiruvananthapuram, believes his time will come.

“I think it is obviously there in the back of the mind (the talk) that I have to be there in the senior team. Any youngster would want to represent the country. But at the same time, I want to focus on my process. I need to get better day-by-day. If I think a lot about senior team selection, I will only be burdening myself with additional pressure. So what I do is to keep the process going. I need to work on my consistency. When I play domestic matches or for India ‘A’, I have to keep on performing well & obviously then the selectors will pick you (to the national squad),” said Kishan on his Indian team aspirations.

Jharkhand's boy took a look at his talent on the second day, a rainy day, shortened by rain, on a Saturday here with 55 strokes of 25 balls before perishing in a bad selection of shots. This resulted in India A suffering a mini batting collapse in the lower middle order before Krunal Pandya He helped them recover to a two wicket victory. While the crowd on vacation gathered at the stadium applauded Kishan on his way back to the pavilion for his blow that changed the game, the 21-year-old was warning himself for not taking his side to victory.

Kishan acknowledged that he is learning from his mistakes & he wants to try & finish games off for his side while he is in the middle. “You go in & get out, that’s not very disappointing. But it hurts more when you get dismissed after getting set & is batting on 40 or 50. The dressing room is hoping that you will finish the game off & then you get out in a bad manner. That’s not what the team wants from you. So you need to be there till the last ball & finish the game. I will make sure that I finish the game more often from now on,” said the Mumbai Indians 'porter batter.

Kishan also said that his wicket-keeping is a work in progress & he has learned a lot from Kiran More & Dhoni himself. “I spent time with More sir during IPL & he helped me a lot. I am trying to improve my keeping to the spinners & working on how to do quick stumpings like Mahi bhai. If I take his place someday in the Indian team, people will be expecting the same thing from me. I will keep working with him (Dhoni) as & when I get an opportunity. I am also working extremely hard to make sure I get better every day,” Ishan said.

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