Ishan Porel: From boy to man

One of India's standout players in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, seamer Ishan Porel talks about the challenges of transitioning to first-class cricket and more.

Ishan Porel in action for Bengal in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

India under-19 World Cup winner Ishan Porel picked up three wickets as Bengal beat Odisha to sail into the Super League stage of the Syed Mushtaq Ali cricket tournament here.

In a freewheeling chat with Sportstar, Porel opened up about the challenges of a maiden first-class season, Rahul Dravid's impact, and other aspects of his game.

How has the transition from under-19 to first-class cricket been?

Unlike my other team-mates, it has not been a smooth journey for me. There have been a few ups and downs. I got injured a couple of times, once during the under-19 World Cup and again in the Ranji Trophy where I twisted my ankle while fielding. It is a giant leap from junior cricket to first-class cricket and you have to be both mentally and physically ready for it. I would say the season was good overall but it can get better.

What is your biggest takeaway from the Under-19 World Cup as a player?

I have learnt how to handle pressure better. There's no room for error at the highest level, you have to execute your plans perfectly which is a quality that I continue to imbibe from my Bengal team-mates Manoj (Tiwary) da, Wriddhiman (Saha) bhai and Dinda bhai. All of them have represented the country and are aware of the rigours of international cricket.

How instrumental has Dravid's role been?

Rahul Dravid sir has been a great inspiration. When I got injured in my very first match (a bruised heel in left foot) of the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, he was very reassuring and asked me to go through whatever rehab I had to and not worry about anything else. 

I don't think I would've been able to come back and play the quarters against Bangladesh without his support. My biggest learning was how to remain calm and composed in any situation. It helped me take four for 17 against Pakistan in the semis.

Was the IPL snub disappointing?

I'm taking it positively. It gives me the chance to work on my bowling as well as my batting. I need to be better prepared before making a case for myself.

One moment that stood out from the World Cup?

The India-Pakistan semifinal will remain special. Not only because I took a four-for in that match but also because as kids, we grew up watching the two teams square off against each other in high-intensity matches, so to be a part of it and that too in a World Cup felt brilliant.