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Asia Cup 2022: Ishan Kishan, a scapegoat to accommodate others? Does he really fit in and how?

Asia Cup 2022: Ishan Kishan dropped from the Asia Cup Squad of Team India. Ishan Kishan posted a Instagram story on his snub from Asia Cup 2022.

Asia Cup 2022: Ishan Kishan was dropped from the Asia Cup Squad of Team India (Images ©BCCI)
Ishan Kishan dropped from the Asia Cup Squad (Images ©BCCI)

The national selectors just a few days ago declared India’s squad for the upcoming edition of Asia Cup 2022 to be played from August 27 to September 11 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Few notable faces like former captain Virat Kohli along with regular opener KL Rahul have returned to the side.

Some young players, most notably, 14th ranked T20I batter Ishan Kishan finds himself to be a significant omission from the 15-member squad. The dynamic left-handed player featured in only one T20I each against England and West Indies during India’s recent tours, scoring just eight and eleven, respectively.

Kishan displayed emotion on being left out from the side

The opener shared a few emotional lines from the rap song - “Bella- Humble Poet” on his Instagram story to react on his non-selection. With some of the seniors making a comeback in the side, it was the 24-year-old who became the scapegoat.

As mentioned earlier, in eight away T20Is India played both against England and West Indies, Kishan found just two chances. While two-three players were used as backup openers, it seems that Ishan Kishan wasn’t in the scheme of things for India for their Asia Cup squad and perhaps for October’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Even during the One Day International (ODI) series against West Indies, India decided to go with Shubman Gill to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the opening slot to keep the right-left combination intact.

Let’s take a look at couple of reasons why Ishan Kishan didn’t find himself in the squad.

Asia Cup 2022: KL Rahul back with team India after injury and named Vice-Captain for Asia Cup 2022 (Source: ©AFP/GettyImages)
KL Rahul named vice-vaptain for Asia Cup 2022 (Source: ©AFP/GettyImages)

Traffic jam at the opening position

India have given opportunities to quite a few players, including Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant, at the opening slot. The inflexibility in the batting order might have cost Kishan his place.

However, with the return of KL Rahul, who has been India’s most vigorous T20I opener in the last few years, it was known that he is going to snatch the position. In the series against West Indies, India threw Suryakumar Yadav as opener and the right-hander shone with 135 runs in just four innings with some of his splendid shots.

Add to that, Rishabh Pant was given the responsibility at the opening position and the left-hander too did a decent job. With the return of Virat Kohli, who comes back into the side after missing the full Caribbean tour due to rest, the number three spot was booked.

This means Suryakumar Yadav will arrive at number four position with Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant to follow him. India although have decided to keep a right-right combination in the form of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma at the opening slot.

In the event of an injury to any of the openers, SKY can be promoted to the opening slot with India already having the luxury of using Deepak Hooda or someone like Shreyas Iyer, who is in the reserves list, in the middle-order. The mixture of this fixed combination along with Kishan’s recent form have probably led to his axing from India’s squad for Asia Cup 2022.

Asia Cup 2022: Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik are two wicket keepers India choose in Asia Cup 2022 | Walking Wicket (Source: ©GettyImages)
Pant and Karthik are two wicket-keepers India choose in Asia Cup 2022 (Source: ©GettyImages)

Ishan Kishan may not fit in the middle-order

If there was no chance for Ishan Kishan at the top, then the only spot left for him was in the middle-order, i.e., from number four to seven position, where he batted in just one innings for India in T20Is where he collected unbeaten 20 runs at a strike rate of 142.85.

Kishan featured for India in the Sri Lanka series at the start of this year before being part of the South Africa series at home. But it was difficult to leave someone like Rishabh Pant, who has been India’s best batter in different formats this year or Suryakumar Yadav, who on the back of his sensational knocks against West Indies earned the second rank in the ICC rankings of T20I batters.

There is no way Kishan could replace Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, both of whom bring balance in the side with ball in hand; even Deepak Hooda too sits in the same bracket with Jadeja and Pandya.

Also, with 699 runs in 37 T20s at an average of 24.96 and strike rate of 129.44 with three fifties in the middle-order (numbers 4-7), Ishan Kishan’s stats are far behind Rishabh Pant’s, who has smashed 3112 runs in 128 games at an average of 31.43 and strike rate of 140.56 with 16 half-centuries and one century batting in the middle-order in T20s.

But on the flipside of the coin, wasn’t it the best time to take a look at Ishan Kishan, who may feel robbed of his opportunity?

Asia Cup 2022: Will India take a chance to drop Virat Kohli if he doesn't perform? (Source: ©AFP/GettyImages)
Virat Kohli joins Team India for Asia Cup 2022 (Source: ©AFP/GettyImages)

Can Ishan Kishan still find a place in the squad?

The shortest format of the game is the prime stage for young players who want to play with lot of energy and try out different things in alternate ways.

Even the most diehard fan would admit that Virat Kohli is going through a rough time in T20s. In 2022, the former India captain has featured in just four games for India in T20Is, scoring just 81 runs at a strike rate of 128.57 with a lone fifty. Even in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, Kohli playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) deposited just 341 runs in 16 games with two half-centuries at a strike rate of 115.99. Add to that, the brand of cricket India are playing right now doesn’t suit Kohli’s template in this format too.

Undoubtedly, If Kohli was dropped, it would hurt India but that might bring a young Ishan Kishan in the equation, who in this year has scored 430 runs in 14 games with three fifties at a strike rate of 130.30. He also smashed 418 runs in 14 games for Mumbai Indians (MI) in IPL 2022 to make a strong claim for his place.

In the recent home South Africa series, Ishan Kishan was the top run scorer with 206 runs in five innings at an average of 41.20 while against Sri Lanka too, he blasted 105 runs in two innings at an average of 52.50.

Ishan Kishan is also third in the list (459 runs) of run scored by India player after ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021, Suryakumar Yadav (491 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (479 runs) are the first two.

With Ishan Kishan in the mix, India might get a back-up opener with a right-left combination at the top. Then with KL Rahul coming at number three with Rishabh Pant at five and Ravindra Jadeja at seven, India could easily maintain their right-left combination throughout the whole batting lineup.

In the past, the batons have been passed smoothly in Indian cricket and this could be the best time for Ishan Kishan to make his place in the side.

India will begin their Asia Cup 2022 campaign against Pakistan on August 28 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai.

Ishan Kishan's Instagram Story after snub from Asia Cup 2022 India squad (Source: ©Ishan Kishan/Instagram)
Ishan's Instagram Story after snub from Asia Cup (Source: ©Ishan Kishan/Instagram)

India’s squad for Asia Cup 2022

Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan

Standby players

Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel

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