A foot injury had almost derailed his U19 World Cup campaign, but pacer Ishan Porel was desperate to contribute in Indian team’s success, so he chose to play through pain, his coach Bibhash Das revealed on Saturday.
Having ruptured his out step tissue on his landing leg (left), Porel made a comeback in 12 days from an injury that usually takes three weeks to heal and his 6-2-17-4 skittled Pakistan out for 69 in the semifinal.
In the final on Saturday, Porel (2 for 30) dismissed both the Australia openers — Jack Edwards (28) and Max Bryant (14) — inside the Powerplay, before India bundled them out for 216, en route to a commanding eight-wicket win, with 67 balls to spare.
“He’s not fully recovered, and bowled with pain on his foot. Such a kind of injury would take a minimum three weeks to recover,” Das, who had a word with Porel after the injury, said.
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“It’s not actually an ankle injury. He has a tear on his out step of the left leg. He bowled with a heavily taped leg with insole in his shoe, so that he does not aggravate his injury. It’s only because of the advanced treatment in New Zealand that he could play in the three knockout matches,” added the coach.
Das feels his ward should skip at least the first two matches of the Vijay Hazare domestic one-day tournament to let the injury heal completely.
“I would say he should give up at least a couple of matches in the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy. It will help him recover,” he said.
Hailing from a family with strong roots in sports, Porel was a former table tennis player, before his good height made him a natural choice for a fast bowler.
With a six feet and three inches frame, almost same as India pacer Ishant Sharma, Porel is now struggling to cope with fitness. “In fact, he’s struggling with his height, finding it difficult to cope up the sudden growth in a few years,” Das said.
The coach is aware of the tough road ahead and said his ward should aim to be in India’s team for the World Cup 2019. “The biggest challenge for him, and me, is to keep him physically fit so that he could bowl with full strength. We will do our best. Porel should target the World Cup 2019 now,” Das said.
Having made his Ranji debut for Bengal this season, Porel has impressed with his pace and bounce. “He was consistently clocking 138kph. His forte has been speed and bounce. He’s not a swing bowler per se, but he has a natural ability to generate off the seam movement and more bounce,” said Das.
“Under-19 world cup is definitely a great exposure. one looks up to the future, from there. Not everyone gets an opportunity to play in the World Cup, even the likes of VVS Laxman, Irfan Pathan did not get a chance. But the journey begins now. You have to keep working hard. You cannot stop now. You should know that you won’t be 19 again!”
It was a festive atmosphere in his locality in Chandannagar, about 50 kilometres away from Kolkata in Hooghly district, as thousands gathered with Tricolours and Ishan’s posters to celebrate the World Cup win.
“You won’t understand unless you come here. Thousands from our locality have gathered here and celebrating the win with drum beats and dancing in India Tricolours. We have sweets for all. This success belongs to all of you,” his father Chandranath Porel said.
Senior Porel revealed that his son was disappointed after not being picked by any of the franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions, but it was Rahul Dravid’s advice that worked wonders for him.
“Dravid Sir told him don’t worry it happens every year, but a World Cup comes once in a lifetime. So give your best. The mantra has worked wonders for him,” he said about Porel who grabbed a four-wicket haul two days after the auctions.
“I’m sure his time will come. The target for him to make the cut for the seniors. We all know it’s tough but Ishan will keep putting in the hard yards. It’s been a fairy-tale comeback for Ishan from his (foot) injury. The way he bowled and single-handedly won the match for India against Pakistan in the semifinal is highly commendable,” he concluded before getting busy distributing sweets in his locality.
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