25-year-old Ishan Kishan has been in the headlines in the past two months as he has missed all the cricket action for Team India since December due to being on a break. Kishan had opted out from the Test series in South Africa, after being named in the squad, for personal reasons and hasn’t returned yet. He has also missed all of Jharkhand’s Ranji trophy matches so far.
In his absence, while the likes of Sanju Samson and Jitesh Sharma donned the gloves in white-ball matches, India seemed to have missed him the most in the first Test against England, where KS Bharat played as the wicketkeeper. Bharat recorded scores of 41 and 28, which were not enough to see India home as the hosts succumbed to a 28-run shock loss in Hyderabad to Ben Stokes‘ team.
While there is no update regarding Ishan Kishan’s comeback, there is a strong feeling that India need him to return for the rest of the Test series against England as the faith in KS Bharat could be dwindling.
3 reasons why Ishan Kishan is a better option than KS Bharat in India’s Test team:
Kishan bats with a higher tempo than KS Bharat in red-ball cricket
Ishan Kishan’s USP is his flair and aggression, much better compared to KS Bharat. Kishan has a strike rate of 69 in his first-class career, and he struck at 85 in the 2 Test matches he played last year in the West Indies, where he recorded a maiden Test fifty. KS Bharat has a FC strike rate of 59 and his Test strike rate is 54.
But why is strike rate important in Test cricket? Because on pitches that are not flat or lifeless, you want to keep the scoring tick and not pile up pressure on yourself or your partner. In games where chasing even 230 is a mountain to climb, a breezy knock of, say, 40 runs in 50 balls would shift the momentum toward your team.
Kishan has shown a much better temperament in his brief international career so far
Kishan already has been part of two ICC tournaments so far in his short international career. He is a multiple-time IPL winner with the Mumbai Indians. He has shown a much better temperament at handling the pressure of international cricket and facing international bowlers than KS Bharat.
A left-hander would help break the chain of right-handers in India’s batting order
A key point of difference that someone like Ishan Kishan brings – and before him Rishabh Pant did – is breaking the chain of right-handers in India’s batting order. India promoted Jadeja and Axar in Hyderabad. Had they had Kishan in the side, the two all-rounders, who are excellent batters in home conditions, would have been utilized lower down the order.