Ishan Kishan to miss Ranji Trophy’s sixth round for Jharkhand despite seen training | REPORT

The cricketing fraternity is once again left pondering over young wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan’s immediate future as he opts to extend his hiatus from competitive cricket, notwithstanding being spotted honing his craft at a training facility. Ishan Kishan, who has not donned the Indian jersey since November 2023, is poised to sit out the sixth round of the Ranji Trophy, where his home team Jharkhand is scheduled to square off against Haryana starting on February 9th.

This decision comes in stark contrast to the advice of Indian coach Rahul Dravid, who is of the view that Kishan must return to domestic cricket as a pathway back to the national team. Despite this divergence of strategy, it has been reported by Cricbuzz that Kishan will not be participating in the upcoming Ranji Trophy clash. His absence extends the uncertainty surrounding his comeback to international cricket, an issue that has not yet been given a timeline.

Ishan Kishan has been in Baroda for the last few weeks, training alongside Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya at the Kiran More Academy. The rigorous training sessions indicate his dedication to improving his skills, yet his stance on playing domestic cricket remains unyielded. As of now, the reason behind Kishan’s continuous absence since the South Africa tour is understood to be a personal break from the game. Although he was part of both the T20I and Test series squads, he did not feature in the playing eleven of the shorter format and took the break before the Test matches commenced.

Coach Rahul Dravid, while sympathetic to Kishan’s need for a break, has repeatedly underscored the necessity of playing cricket to make a viable return to the Indian side. Dravid conveyed his thoughts earlier in January, signaling that Kishan had the federation’s support for his break but reaffirming that it was upon Kishan to make himself available for selection by playing domestically.

Dravid recently elaborated on his stance after India’s triumphant second Test match against England in Visakhapatnam, reiterating that the door remains open for any player, including Kishan. He clarified that he did not explicitly mandate domestic cricket as the only route back, but emphasised that Kishan requires playing time to be ready for a national call-up.

“The choice is his,” Dravid stated, indicating a hands-off approach on the matter and asserting that the team management is not imposing any conditions on the southpaw batsman. This clearly puts the onus on Kishan, as Dravid added that, presently, without active cricket participation, consideration for team inclusion is not on the table.

Kishan’s career, though still in its early stages, has seen flashes of brilliance and an affirmed potential that justify his place in the talent-laden pool from which Indian cricket picks its playing talent. At 25, the last visual of him in Indian blues was during the T20I series post the 2023 World Cup, a memory that now seems increasingly distant to cricket enthusiasts and selectors alike.

Ishan Kishan’s prolonged break and absence from the Ranji Trophy add another layer of complexity to his cricketing journey. What unfolds in the coming months for the young cricketer will be watched with bated breath by his supporters and the cricketing world at large. As Jharkhand takes the field without him, the questions around his cricketing ambitions and return strategies linger, leaving fans hopeful but puzzled at the same time.

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