Ahead of the New Zealand tour, Ravichandran Ashwin feels opening batter Ishan Kishan is not getting an extended run as a player in the India playing XI. He wants the team management to give him relevant opportunities in the upcoming T20Is in New Zealand.
For the uninitiated, Kishan has played only a couple of T20Is since July 2022. He was only considered for one game each in England and West Indies, where he failed to deliver, scoring only eight and 11 runs, respectively.
The 24-year-old, however, played in all three ODIs against South Africa, scoring 123 runs in three matches, including a match-winning knock of 93 in Ranchi.
The southpaw will look to come out all guns blazing against New Zealand in the absence of regular openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, who have been rested after the T20 World Cup.
Speaking on his YouTube channel on Friday, Ashwin said:
“Shubman Gill will definitely open the innings. Who is going to be the second opener? Ishan Kishan or Rishabh Pant? Rishabh Pant, despite being the game changer he is, has given his impact performances at the top of the order."
"Ishan has been traveling a lot with the team but not getting an extended run as a player. So, he will also expect an extended run.”
“Will Sanju Samson finish an innings?” – Ravichandran Ashwin
Ashwin reckons that wicket-keeper batter Sanju Samson might have to step up as India’s new finisher in T20Is after Dinesh Karthik as there is no place vacant for him in the top order. He added that the right-handed batter could come in handy in the middle order because of his ability to play well against the spinners.
The all-rounder said:
"Will Sanju Samson finish an innings? Or will he be used in the middle order to give impetus, take on spinners, and play his pulls and use the side boundaries? Or will Sanju Samson get a chance? Because, as far as I am concerned, Shubman Gill is a lock at the top of the order.”
With Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Suryakumar Yadav in the fray for the top four spots, the India team management will have to identify their middle-order batters in New Zealand.
Samson last played for Team India in T20Is in the West Indies, scoring 45 runs in a couple of matches. He recently led India A against New Zealand A, emerging as the highest scorer with 120 runs in three 50-over games. Samson also hit a couple of half-centuries against Saurashtra and Jammu & Kashmir in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
The Rajasthan Royals captain will hope to get a spot as the backup keeper in the Indian side, ahead of Ishan Kishan.