Sai Kishore: Dravid taught me to trust my own game

In Tamil Nadu’s triumphant campaign in Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Sai’s Kishore role was vital. His three for 12 in the summit clash was a precious effort.

Tamil Nadu's R Sai Kishore (File)   -  Vijay Soneji

Left-arm spinners are generally easy pickings for a left-handed batter. The vignette here tells a different story.

It’s the first ball of the second over of the Karnataka innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali final in New Delhi.

Tamil Nadu’s Sai Kishore is bowling to southpaw Rohan Kadam from over the wicket.

And the delightfully flighted delivery, which drew the batsman forward for a fatal drive, dipped and then spun in to disturb the stumps. A compelling strike.

“It was the first ball. I did not know what the pitch would be like. So I bowled a classical ball with flight and looked to see what the pitch could do. The ball spun and went through the gate,” revealed Sai Kishore in a conversation with Sportstar.

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Sai Kishore struck another vital blow for Tamil Nadu. He bamboozled Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey, who played for the turn, but the ball came in with angle to leave him castled.

“I have a different type of arm-ball. The batters are sometimes late in picking it and the ball hurries off the pitch,” said Sai Kishore.

In Tamil Nadu’s triumphant campaign in Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Sai’s Kishore role was vital. His three for 12 in the summit clash was a precious effort.

Creditably, he bowled in the Power Play overs, contained and struck.

“I was happy that the team showed so much trust in me. I love the challenge,” Sai Kishore said.

Talking about bowling in Twenty20 cricket, Sai Kishore said, “I am reading the game better. I am reading what the batter is trying to do. Small things I picked up while being the Chennai Super Kings have helped me in a big way.”

Sai Kishore did not get a game for CSK but said he learnt much from watching the likes of M.S. Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner prepare and go about their cricket.

Sai Kishore said, “Being with CSK has been a great experience. Apart from improving skills, you learn so much about being together as a team.”

This year the 25-year-old Sai Kishore was picked as a net bowler for India's tour of Sri Lanka featuring shorter duration matches. "I was blessed that I was picked for that role despite not getting a game in IPL."

Legend Rahul Dravid was the coach of the side and Sai Kishore said, "I learnt from him to trust my own game. It is good to chase excellence but you need to have confidence in your own ability."

A tall bowler with a high-arm action, Sai Kishore's strengths are the natural bounce he extracts and the turn. He has improved on his control and accuracy.

Talking about the bigger challenges of first class cricket, Sai Kishore said, "I have played 17 matches [he has 48 wickets] and I am not a finished product yet. I am willing to learn and improve."

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Sai Kishore said, "I talk a lot to former State spinners such as S. Vasudevan, Sunil Subramaniam and R. Ramkumar and several others. I am looking forward to working with our present State coach M. Venkataramana whith whom I had interacted earlier at NCA and in the zonal camps."

The youngster is clearly someone who works hard on his cricket. "I have put in hours to improve my batting and my fielding. The team believes more in my batting now. There is great camaraderie within the team."

Sai Kishore has taken flight. It remains to be seen where this magic carpet called cricket carries him.

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