IPL auction 2022: Ishan Kishan – big-money superstar
n the eve of the IPL auction in 2016, Ishan Kishan was trying to lay bat on ball in the nets of the India U-19 team in Fatullah, a town on the suburbs of Dhaka.
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He was about to lead India U-19 in a World Cup quarterfinal the next day and he was barely able to connect his big hits. Coach Rahul Dravid, visibly frustrated, asked Ishan’s deputy Rishabh Pant to take him aside and calm him down.
An hour later, a naïve Ishan had told TOI: “I don’t have to think about it now. Isske baad IPL hi toh khelna hain, I hope (anyway, I will have to mostly play IPL after this).”
A day later, Pant became the big-money player of the pack, fetching Rs 1.9 crore while Ishan had to be content with Rs 35 lakh.
Pant’s career since has moved at a rapid pace way while Ishan has had to manoeuvre around troughs to eventually become the most expensive player on Day One of the IPL auction on Saturday.
When Mumbai Indians won the intense bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad after settling on Rs. 15.25 crore, Ishan truly made a place in the league where the big boys play. Indications are that the figure will be difficult to match on Sunday. His worth is 75 lakhs less than Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Rs. 1.75 crore less than KL Rahul. He has surpassed Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya by Rs 25 lakhs. He is the latest big-money superstar of Indian cricket.
Mumbai Indians have played a huge part in propelling Ishan’s career over the last four years. It is apt that Ishan is close on Pant’s heels as India’s backup white-ball wicketkeeper playing the impact role with the bat.
TOI understands the newly-formed Gujarat Titans wanted to draft Ishan in the first place before the auctions but he had preferred to go back in the auction pool.
MI coach Mahela Jayawardene has worked hard on the evolution of Ishan.
The transformation from a boom-and-bust cricketer to a consistently fearsome cricketer has taken a couple of rough seasons and quite a lot of brutal one-on-one sessions. He has overcome fitness issues, accusations of being insincere and reckless for large portions of his young career.
Ishan has always been an investment for the MI management since they bought him for Rs. 6.4 crore in 2018. He was a backup for the seasoned Quinton de Kock.
In four years, Ishan has grown enough for MI to move on from de Kock and put absolute faith in their X-factor. With de Kock vacating his spot in the MI dugout, it gives Ishan a shot at his much preferred opening position to bat. His ability to hit big from ball one separates him from most, if not all other, white-ball openers in Indian cricket.
Mumbai Indians are best known for grooming leaders. Rohit Sharma is their flaunting card. Ishan could well be their next big investment. This auction was meant to be laying the foundation for a strong core for years to come. At 23, Ishan has enough time to mature as a leader by the time Rohit finishes his cricketing journey with MI.
The journey from Rs 35 lakhs in 2016 to Rs 15.25 crore has been an exhilarating one. It seems he has finally found his core.
His father Pranav Pandey had told TOI in August that Ishan still asks for pocket expenses from the money he has earned through cricket. His focus is all on the cricket. Ishan’s worth has gone through the roof and he is now safely lodged alongside the superstars of Indian cricket.