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SportIPLKishan, Bharat revel and impress the critics

Kishan, Bharat revel and impress the critics

Published: 10th Oct 2021 1:02 am

It was a day for wicketkeepers in the IPL’s last league matches on Friday and two of them stole the show with explosive, sensible and match-winning innings. The diminutive Ishan Kishan did it for Mumbai Indians while Visakhapatnam boy K Srikar Bharat hogged the limelight for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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The left-handed Kishan, who returned to form, hammered a 47-ball 72 while the Andhra opener Bharat struck an unbeaten 52-ball 78 and finished the match with a last-ball six. Kishan is the part of the Indian team that will play in the T20 World Cup at the UAE and Oman. The 28-year-old, who has suddenly become the most searched person in social media after that blitzkrieg, has been part of the Indian Test team and played for India A teams. This Andhra boy has been on the radar of the national selectors.

MSK Prasad, the former chairman of the national selection committee and a former Andhra cricketer, has been following Bharat’s career from under-14 level. Prasad, himself a former Test stumper, was not surprised about Bharat’s stellar show on Friday.

“He has always got runs either as an opener or at No.3 for Andhra. The RCB did well to promote him at No.3 and Bharat has stood up to the challenge very well. Gaining in confidence, Bharat revelled in his strokeplay. He likes to play the fast bowlers,’’ he said.

Even Bharat, in his post-match conference, said that he likes to bat at No.3. “I love fast bowling, to be honest. I have played for India A team and I’m also a part of the Indian team, you get to play with the best bowlers in the country. It wasn’t a surprise element for me to play pace,” said Bharat, who played Avesh Khan, Nortje, Rabada confidently.

He went on to add: “I would love someone who is giving pace so that you can work the ball instead of hitting the ball hard. I found it really interesting and I was enjoying the challenge.”
Prasad said it is good to see a lively competition between Rishabh Pant, Kishan and Bharat.

“They are all attacking batsmen. It is a good sign. However, as far as keeping is concerned, Bharat is excellent behind the stumps, particularly with the red ball. This knock would do a world of good for his career,” said Prasad, adding “Kishan has always been an exciting batsman. He has a wide range of strokes.”

Former India wicketkeeper Sadanand Vishwanath, too, pointed out that the likes of Kishan and Bharat can keep Pant on his toes. “They have a big temperament for big matches. Friday’s matches belonged to these two keepers. Kishan is a smart customer behind the stumps. He epitomizes the present day cricketers’ spirit. He has a making of a super start, particularly in white ball cricket. He is awesome with his strokeplay. Bharat impressed with his cool head. He came in when RCB were in trouble but he stood tall before guiding his team to a last-ball six win. It was amazing stuff with the willow. He is efficient behind the stumps also.’’

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