Ishan Kishan was just 16 when he first played for the senior Jharkhand side. His first match was against Odisha in the Vijay Hazare Trophy One-Day tournament at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi, back in 2014.
He made 44 before being run out. Not many people would have watched him help Jharkhand make a successful chase in that match.
On Sunday night, however, more than 35,000 fans were there to watch him -- in his first game for India on his home ground -- make a brilliant 93 off just 84 balls and lead India's successful chase against South Africa in the second ODI. He was also making a statement: that he was back at his very best.
Kishan may not have been able to make it even to the list of reserves for India's T20 World Cup squad, but he has served a reminder to the national selectors. The series against South Africa is a big opportunity for him, with India's first-choice players away in Australia for the World Cup, and he has grabbed it with both hands.
Kishan and his teammates proved how strong India's bench at the moment is. He said the team wanted to prove a point.
“I have heard of people talking of us as India's 'B' side and that we were not capable of beating the South African side,” he said after Sunday’s match. “I was really upset about it. We wanted to play our A-game today after losing the first game. We want to win the final game too."
About the match-winning stand with Shreyas Iyer, he said he was influenced by his partner's positive intent. “After watching him play his shots, I felt I also should play the shots and the wicket was pretty good thanks to the ground staff,” he said. “It was a very good wicket to bat on.”
He said he was disappointed that he could not be part of India's World Cup team. “The selectors and coaches would have found some shortcomings in me and I also feel I need to improve,” he said. “I know I could be a better player.”